HR Departments

I pit the modern HR Department. It’s a bloated behemoth of unwarranted power and oversight that sees fit to waste your time with fripperies while intruding into both your work and home life.

So they’ve run an “analysis” on the 4 days of sick leave I’ve taken over the year and determined that there are “flags” because I had 3 different sicknesses? Also, my taking of sick leave is suspicious because each event only lasted a day? And this necessitated an interview in which my motivations were probed and on which a report later had to be written?

Every year, these unproductive cretans assume more and more responsibilities and powers, yet who are they, and what qualifies them to carry out these roles?

They are just ordinary employees - well, slightly sub-standard ones or they would do something useful - who have become an unofficial internal police force. But they have no special qualities or qualifications that raise them above other employees. The fact that someone has an HR degree does not mean that they are to be trusted with the reams of personal data that they scour every day, nor the internet records that they guard, the leave that they parcel out, the power they have to determine who works and who doesn’t.

The Department no doubt “flags up” recent examples of “best practice” that need to be “implemented”, lest the world falls apart. In a drip-drip of accumulating control, these blunderers and spies mount ever greater heights of officious self-promotion. Other departmental heads, no doubt blinded by the veneer of importance and official licence smeared onto HR policies, unquestioningly accept them. Of course, everyone from the MD down is a subject of the Department and is on their files.

The net result: we are all less free and less productive. Oh, and full of resentment for the company and for that most hated of departments. If their self-importance and data gluttony meant that they could manage the payroll with reasonable accuracy, this screed would never have been written.

Sorry, can’t say that I agree. My HR dept is the most awesome thing since Jesus Christ. No scratch that: There’s my HR dept and then comes Jesus Christ.

And the fact that I’m posting this from work has absolutely zero influence over what Im just posted.

I would gush more about my HR dept but I have to get back to work

Is this for real? It seems creepy as all hell … any other posters run into this.

It might be common, I’ve just never heard of it.


I think it’s quite common in large organisations to have a policy like this.

The last big company I was a salaried employee of had a policy something like “More than 4 individual absences, or an accumulated absence of more than 8 days, in a 12 month period gets you a referral to Occupational Health”. I don’t remember the exact criteria, but that’s roughly what it was.

I can sort of see how that’s not such a bad thing - someone who is off on a lot of Mondays, say, probably needs a quiet word in the ear, and likely some other support, and the OH stuff is confidential in any case.

My encounter with the HR department was somewhat different.

I managed to mangle a leg, and was off work for two months. I got referred to OH, who were very helpful, making sure that my workspace was comfortable for me etc. I was fine after a week or so after getting back, and apart from the odd email from the OH guy asking how I was getting on, all was cool.

The HR department on the other hand seemed to have some sort of dumb-fuck database that flagged me as breaching their guidelines. I got continual emails and calls from them wanting to discuss my absence. At the start I was politely telling them “No, I was in hospital for ten days with my foot pointing in the wrong direction and you have my doctors letters about that, thank you” and then after a few months I just started putting the phone down on them, and replying to the emails with “Fuck off”.

Unsurprisingly that got escalated after a while, and I ended up in a meeting with the general manager of my division and the top HR person. A couple of days after that meeting I got called back into the GM’s office and he told me to forget about it - it was taken care of, and the role of the over-arching HR department was changed for the staff under his control.

I was once a temp at a company where the policy was that if a person took more than two sick days in a year they were fired for not being healthy enough to perform their job. The job in question? Manning customer service phones. Needless to say, the cubicle farm was a daily chorus of sneezing, coughing, sniffing, and other noises of illness because people were dragging themselves to work no matter how sick they were. Didn’t matter if you had a doctor’s note - emergency appendectomy to save your life? Too bad, if you couldn’t be back to work in 48 hours you were gone.

Oh, and the turnover was enormous. Which is why they needed temps, apparently they couldn’t keep hardly anyone in the unit for even a full year because all those slackers would get sick.

This was almost as funny as the fact that the building we were in was called “The Freedom Center” while being surrounded by a 12 foot high fence topped with razor wire and you have to go through a gate with not one but two guards in order to enter the place.

Wow. Ignorance fought. I seriously had no clue. I mean I can see how it makes sense with the ‘too many Mondays off’ I just had, honestly no clue.

Damn. Man I lived a sheltered life I guess. The only real civilian job I had (outside of the military and subsequent DA civil service) was as a contractor where I had 14 days of leave (sick or vacation) on a yearly basis. I never used any but wow, these policies just sound fucking crazy to me. Mindblowing a bit. Thanks!

When you say “four days of sick leave over the year,” are you talking about 2012 or just since Jan 1 of this year?

They had to start cracking down after a deep dive analysis showed that nearly 50%* of sick days fell on a Friday or Monday, conveniently giving the “sick” worker a long weekend.

*well, the data said 40%, but that’s almost 50%, right?

My husband, early in his career, got called in because 40% of his absences were on a Monday or a Friday.

I think some companies get nervous that sick days are taken as extra vacation days.

I had a boss early on that told me that one off absences were suspicious because no one is sick for just one day. I’m someone who has suffered from digestive issues my whole life where I’ll spend just one day crampy and needing quick access to the bathroom - then I’m fine for months.

That is a lot of crap, Dangerosa. My colds are such that I’m sick enough to take about one day off; headaches usually last for one day with me, not to mention the digestive upsets you’ve mentioned. I guess if I worked for that guy, I’d make sure to take two days off each time I was sick. :rolleyes:

HR is not the friend of the employee; they’re there to protect the company. Some HR departments are more obvious about this than others. :slight_smile:

Yeah, what’s so suspicious about taking a single day off sick? I get migraines that last between 4 and 8 hours - I’m not going to take 3 days off for one. And they know this as it’s on record - yet another of their records…

This morning everyone had to fill in some utterly pointless multiple-choice self-review. I ticked all the expected boxes, and now it will go to my manager, who will tick all of her expected boxes. Then I will get an email saying that I am meeting all my expectations. What kind of manager would actually use such a tool to assess or comment on a subordinate’s performance? We have monthly 1-2-1 meetings anyway…!

Sample question: “Do you have skills and/or competencies that are not currently utilised in your position?” Yes - I can drink heavily and/or listen to my wife bollock on about Facebook updates for absolutely ages.

I manage sick leave for a large (Fortune 250) corporation, so I’ll have some comments, but unfortunately I’m about to attend a day-long vendor presentation.

23 years ago my boss called me on the carpet because I was calling in sick once a month and using most of my combined sick-vacation timebank that way.

As I explained: I call in once a month as a mental health day. I deliberately choose days where I have no meetings and no deadlines, and only do it when I have no pressing projects. I can continue to do this, or I can scheduled two weeks of vacation each year. If I do this, you will have to find someone and train them to do my job function while I am gone, because as you know, I have no backup.

It was decided that I could keep doing the mental health days. :slight_smile:

Uhm…do you work at the same place I do? That is scary to know there is more than one abysmal failure out there…and a damn shame.

That reminds me of an episode of Dilbert.

I don’t think nervous is the right word. I think they are stupidly anal about people using their sick days.

Personally, because I manage a few employees, I don’t give a crap. My own personal policy, and I cannot believe companies don’t have this as their official policy, is that a “sick day” is your day. You can use as much of it as you have, at any time, for any reason. I’ve told my staff that they don’t need to be sick to use it, if they want to use it, just use it and I won’t deny them. Its fucking anal that the worse bosses are parsing out these days as some kind of “gift”. So if you’re really healthy and don’t get sick often, you’re basically denied use of the days? That’s bullshit! Sometimes, you just don’t feel like coming in and if you have time saved up, then its your time and not mine.

I can understand why companies do it, because they’re assholes and are afraid of abuse, yada yada yada, but its better to me to have happy employees than ones who are slaves. Do any other managers here agree with me? Fuck, it really pisses me off when management abuses their powers like this.

My non-MS also lasts one day, usually: I wake up and I’m fine, at one point I start getting dizzy, then I start having language problems… if I can flop myself down and tell the world “sayonara till mañana” before the shakes begin I’m fine in the morning, but the longer I wait, the worse the symptoms get and the more likely I am to not be recovered the next day.

That boss was an idiot.

HR can be a royal pain, but it can be the bane of your existence if you don’t work with them. Resistance is futile, so I always made a genuine attempt to get along with them so they would be less likely to come down hard on my department(s).

We have vacation time (that’s granted in advance of accrual at the beginning of the year), but we don’t even bother counting sick time. My policy goes something like this:

“Act like an adult, because I’m going to treat you like one.”

To date, nobody on my team has abused this.

Are you hiring?