Boss Makes No Allowance For Sick Children!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about dock for being absence for sick child:

I have been at my new job for only a month. I am a paralegal in a criminal law firm. Last week my six-year old daughter was very ill. I had to pick her up from school (so I had to leave at 4 p.m. from work instead of 6 p.m.), and the next day I had to stay home with her. I am a divorced parent. My parents are deceased and I have no other family. My friends either work or stay home during the day with their small children; however, most of them work full-time.

When I came back to work the next day, I was severely reprimanded fro missing work. I tried to explain my situation to them, and was told that I had to come up with a Plan B and was expected to not miss any more work due to sick children. Like I said, I have been here for a month. The first two weeks of that month I worked past my 6 p.m. work time until anywhere from 7:30, 9:00 p.m. This was my own choice, but nonetheless, I worked the hours. I also have taken three total lunch hours since I started working here. I am entitled to an hour, but I usually eat at my desk and continue working.I just received my paycheck today and even though I am salary, I was docked for the time I missed. Is this fair to be docked for4 this pay? Also, what should I do regarding when my kids get sick the next time? Is it fair of my employer to ask me to not stay home with them?Also, since I was reprimanded, I have been treated with total disrespect from the two partners.

Signed, Single Parent

Dear Single Parent:

All parents, especially a single parent, need the full support of their employers when it comes to absences due to illness of their children. Needless to say, most employers are not very understanding with this issue. Most companies have sick leave policies which address absences due to employee illness and illness in the family. Not knowing your company policy it is difficult to answer your question. Because you are a new employee, you probably have not earned any sick and/or annual leave.

Even though you are salaried, the company may deduct for absences, especially during the initial orientation period. Did you call in on the day of the absence? This is extremely important. Employers are far more sympathetic when all rules/regulations have been followed. Concerning your working hours — you probably decided yourself to do the longer working hours, taking lunch at your desk, etc. Most firms would not expect this of their new employees.Do you have good, open communication with the partners? You should!! Ask for an appointment with them to discuss the absences, your working hours, and “performance.” There may be an “unidentified” issue that they may be concerned about which is reflecting a less than respectful attitude toward you.

Yes, a Plan B is important regarding illness of child that would cause you to be absent again. Perhaps you could identify someone in your community who would be willing to “baby sit” for you while the child is ill, thus allowing you to go to work. Best of luck. Building a cooperative, supportive working relationship takes time and effort–asserting your needs and meshing with your company’s needs. It is worth the effort we call WEGO.

Jerry Allen, Guest Respondent with HR experience