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Old 10-06-2017, 06:52 AM
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Default Fair Amount Of Absences For Assistants/Employees Each Year

Wow! I haven't been here in so long! So glad to be back and come and check out the forum again.

So here's my question. I have always had an attendance problem. I think I've even posted about other employees here through the years. I'm not sure if I expect too much because my work ethic is high and I rarely miss work myself? Or if other people just have low work ethic now days.

I want to be fair but my assistant calls in at least once a month now days.
I'm thinking I'll do 5 unexcused absences a year before a dr note is required. This doesn't include vacations that they schedule in advance but more of the last minute call ins.

Is that fair? Too much? Too little.

What's your policy?
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:32 AM
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Wow! I haven't been here in so long! So glad to be back and come and check out the forum again.

So here's my question. I have always had an attendance problem. I think I've even posted about other employees here through the years. I'm not sure if I expect too much because my work ethic is high and I rarely miss work myself? Or if other people just have low work ethic now days.

I want to be fair but my assistant calls in at least once a month now days.
I'm thinking I'll do 5 unexcused absences a year before a dr note is required. This doesn't include vacations that they schedule in advance but more of the last minute call ins.

Is that fair? Too much? Too little.

What's your policy?
Welcome "back" to the forum!

I think the problem is definitely a decline in work ethic.
It seems your issue is a similar issue in most work places now days.

I personally think 5 unexcused absences are too many...I would stick to the rule of 3. Three seems to be a number most people easily understand.

3 unexcused absences and I'd require a Dr.s note before returning to work.

Do you do any type of paid days off for sick or personal time?

I don't know the legalities of having an assistant but could you do some sort of wage incentive? Like if you work 6 months without calling in, they earn a bonus ($ or paid time off) type of thing?

Ugh, I couldn't imagine trying to manage an employee in today's working world. I am continually astounded at the things workers try and get away with.

Last edited by Blackcat31; 10-06-2017 at 07:49 AM. Reason: edited sentence structure... not enough coffee yet.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:47 AM
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I have the same issues here. That is why I decided against opening a large center. I do not want to rely on so many people! 3 sounds more than fair to me.
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Old 10-06-2017, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
I don't know the legalities of having an assistant but could you do some sort of wage incentive? Like if you work 6 months without calling in, they earn a bonus ($ or paid time off) type of thing?
Like BC said 3 is a pretty standard number for absences. I've worked at a couple centers that gave a paid day off to employees who had perfect attendance for 6 months.
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:31 AM
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I have the same issues here. That is why I decided against opening a large center. I do not want to rely on so many people! 3 sounds more than fair to me.
I have an amazing opportunity to open a center in my home. My residential property does have to be commercialized which isn't too much of a pain to do. And I'm in a great location. But difficulty in finding quality staff is part of what is holding me back.
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Old 10-06-2017, 10:35 AM
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Welcome "back" to the forum!

I think the problem is definitely a decline in work ethic.
It seems your issue is a similar issue in most work places now days.

I personally think 5 unexcused absences are too many...I would stick to the rule of 3. Three seems to be a number most people easily understand.

3 unexcused absences and I'd require a Dr.s note before returning to work.

Do you do any type of paid days off for sick or personal time?

I don't know the legalities of having an assistant but could you do some sort of wage incentive? Like if you work 6 months without calling in, they earn a bonus ($ or paid time off) type of thing?

Ugh, I couldn't imagine trying to manage an employee in today's working world. I am continually astounded at the things workers try and get away with.
I don't offer paid time off. I may add some though as an incentive. Or a bonus for perfect attendance every so often.
I just recently made my helper full time because she said she really needed full time but get every time I turn around she's asking for a day off or needing to go home early or calling in sick. It's frustrating.
I think 3 days should be plenty too honestly. But she's got 3 already for this month. Monday she had to go home early with a migraine. Yesterday she asked for today off. And she's scheduled oct 21 off already as well. I don't mind the scheduled day off when it's asked in advance. It's the last minute ones or call ins that drive me bonkers!
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:07 PM
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I don't offer paid time off. I may add some though as an incentive. Or a bonus for perfect attendance every so often.
I just recently made my helper full time because she said she really needed full time but get every time I turn around she's asking for a day off or needing to go home early or calling in sick. It's frustrating.
I think 3 days should be plenty too honestly. But she's got 3 already for this month. Monday she had to go home early with a migraine. Yesterday she asked for today off. And she's scheduled oct 21 off already as well. I don't mind the scheduled day off when it's asked in advance. It's the last minute ones or call ins that drive me bonkers!
I had an issue with my assistant last year. She is great in a lot of ways, but the call outs were excessive.
So, I cut down on kids, and stopped using her for most of the school year. In our case she only gets paid for actually working. I used her a few times here and there for covering appointments.
I'm back to using her two mornings a week this year and so far she's been 100% reliable. I think she needed to realize that I didn't "need" her and she had a pretty sweet set up working here (mornings only, around her kids school schedule, etc)
But 3 call outs are year for probably part time help is more than enough.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:16 PM
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Maybe I'm the odd duck but I wouldn't have any policy for unexcused absences or ever require a doctors note. If there's an employee with attendance issues, could you speak with her about it and if it doesn't remedy itself, look to replace her? Then during the interview or on boarding process, explain your expectations for attendance. There's a lot of debate on doctors notes for adults. Generally speaking, most of us know when we're too sick to go in but don't need to go to the dr. Hopefully an employer-to-employee trusting relationship can be established

I think it's lack of work ethic. If it's an issue with many employees, over a period of time, and they start out really great and then decline - consider looking at yourself or the environment. NOT saying you're the problem with this example! Just speaking from experience with a toxic workplace where our manager couldn't understand why there was high turnover, poor attendance, poor performance, etc.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackcat31 View Post
Ugh, I couldn't imagine trying to manage an employee in today's working world. I am continually astounded at the things workers try and get away with.
BC I think you would die if you saw my last workplace I also think we would have gotten along.

I had a coworker who SLEPT AT HIS DESK and came in HOURS late (we were hourly, not salary) and DISAPPEAR for hours. Management knew this. People would take pics of him sleeping and include a clock so they knew how long it went on. He got away with this for YEARS and they wondered why there was lack of motivation on our team
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:23 PM
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By unexcused absence are you talking about illness? I would think that 10 is a fair number for sick days. Many people are sick enough to meet exclusion criteria for 10 days a year.

I'd look at this on a case by case basis, personally. If a person is ill, they should not be at work. I would not ALLOW a sick employee at work. I'd hold them to the same exclusion criteria as I do the kids.

In my family's businesses, we all bent over backwards to accommodate illness, family emergencies, or even just covering for an employee who wanted to attend a concert on a night they were scheduled. Know what it got us? Loyal, faithful employees who stayed for many years. People who became experts in the business. People who customers could depend on and trust because of their longevity and knowledge.

If an employee needs a day off for sickness or personal business, *I* would accomodate it to the extent that I was able. If it is TRULY hurting your business, you may have to act, but in my experience, when you're flexible with them, they're flexible with you. Steve called in sick, so you call Jim to cover, and he comes right in because he knows that Steve has covered him before, too. I, my parents, and my siblings all worked extra hours to cover employees who needed the day off. My dad's philosophy was "happy employees, happy customers", and it's mine, too, because it works.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:27 PM
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Just wanted to add: An us vs. them environment doesn't work for ANYONE. If you're focused on punitive measures, you're leaving out the important things like morale. Low morale in a childcare can be devastating (in any business, really). I'm not saying to let employees walk all over you, but instead to work on making them happy within reason, treating them like adults, focus less on rules (outside of state regs, of course) and more on solutions.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
Just wanted to add: An us vs. them environment doesn't work for ANYONE. If you're focused on punitive measures, you're leaving out the important things like morale. Low morale in a childcare can be devastating (in any business, really). I'm not saying to let employees walk all over you, but instead to work on making them happy within reason, treating them like adults, focus less on rules (outside of state regs, of course) and more on solutions.
I understand what you're saying. However, it's just me and her. There is no one to call in to come in if one of us is out. I can occasionally get someone (a family member of mine to cover for advanced notice absences), etc but I can't, at the drop of a hat get someone to come in and cover for her when she's absent. I'm a licensed home that can have 12 kiddos when I have two people here. She recently said she really needed to go full time if possible. I explained to her that I can enroll more kids so she can have full time but that it's full time and that I need to know when she'll take off as much in advance as possible. Not I come in when I'm feeling like it or I can take off at the drop of a hat. We have made a commitment to these families and I just feel like I should be able to remain open if at all possible.
I have always ran my daycare like a center based program. I do not close unless it is absolutely necessary. I have to be really sick (fever or stomach virus) to even think about closing and even then I scramble like crazy to find a back up sub (my sisters and mom can back up sometimes for me). I have probably closed no more than 5 times In the past 8 years for illness and bad weather. I believe at least twice was for bad weather. Unfortunately I understand that's not the way everyone does things. And that some employees have a hard time with attendance and so I feel like having a policy in place would maybe deter them from calling in with a bad headache or stomach cramps because it's pms. That's what I'm running into a lot.
Most of it's my fault because I'm too nice and don't say do anything about it. If I have a policy I feel like I would be more willing to terminate or write someone up for possible termination...Hey you've had 5 absences this year so far and our policy is that that many absences are grounds for termination, Etc just to cover my butt.
Everyone sees this issue so differently too. An above poster mentioned we don't go to the doctor etc, but then again some daycares in my area say if you're sick enough to miss work you're sick enough to go to the doctor.
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Old 10-06-2017, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
Just wanted to add: An us vs. them environment doesn't work for ANYONE. If you're focused on punitive measures, you're leaving out the important things like morale. Low morale in a childcare can be devastating (in any business, really). I'm not saying to let employees walk all over you, but instead to work on making them happy within reason, treating them like adults, focus less on rules (outside of state regs, of course) and more on solutions.
Also, our morale is great. We have a very good relationship as far as working together and she seems to enjoy her job. Which is probably part of the problem. It's hard not to become friends when you work together closely 40 hours a week and it's easy to take advantage friendship it seems by thinking hey she will understand if I feel bad after staying up too late playing softball last night, etc.
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:21 PM
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I dunno, I think I'd go to work sick. Most of the time I can't afford a doctor visit on top of missing work.

Do you provide health insurance that would make it affordable? What if they come in and spread their illness around a little first so that they can be sent home instead?

I think this is a business that makes it a hard call because of the potential to get others sick.
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Old 10-08-2017, 04:52 PM
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There was a lady at the center I worked at that had a staff member with at least 2 sick days a month and late too. I got hired when they fired her. As far as doctors notes, most centers I worked at only required a doctors note for more than 3 days in a row. I never managed to need one!
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Old 10-09-2017, 06:01 AM
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I have an amazing opportunity to open a center in my home. My residential property does have to be commercialized which isn't too much of a pain to do. And I'm in a great location. But difficulty in finding quality staff is part of what is holding me back.
I have had a heck of a time finding one quality person! Just one. No way do I want to worry about an entire staff.
1. Issues with background checks(one person had 10 cps investigations in the last 5 years).
2. lazy and unreliable.
3. flat out don't show up and only looking for free daycare.(then text you almost 3 weeks later and ask if they can still work for you) The free daycare was through the state to take the children to a different daycare. I suspect she only wanted that after I signed papers that I hired her she was too sick to start work that Monday.
4.Accept the job and then decide not to start to wait for something better.
5. Want to bring their kids to daycare for FREE when you do not have spots and can't offer free especially for an infant spot.(2 kids both in diapers and wants free daycare) Then continue to harass you and email you each time you run an ad. Then send threatening emails.

These are some of the issues I have ran into just over the summer and early fall trying to hire.
I have someone starting today, let's see how this goes. I am not holding my breath.
The assistant I had for 6 months only worked like 4 hours a day as that was all I needed last year. She was lazy and had to be reminded of things constantly.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:04 AM
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I don't think a doc note is necessary, but I would want to know what they are sick with because, just like kids, I don't want them bringing a highly contagious illness into my home. I think doing 10 days per year (5 sick days, 5 prearranged abscences) would be fair and hopefully you can plan those absent days well in advance.

I think it is hard to have an assistant when your ratios depend on it. If you can keep your sisters, mom, and maybe even 2 more back ups, then you should hopefully be covered. If absences become an issue, just address it right away. A rational person will completely understand why it is so important to show up to work. You will be able to see the difference between those who understand that and those who just dont care.

I serve tables at night and it is mostly 20 something's. They are all wonderful workers, but being late and trying to get out of their shifts is very common. They all need money, but then give up their next shift but there is always something more fun to do than work, like going partying. And they are "sick" a lot. Some are legitimately sick and look like death, but many are just being lazy or have self induced "sickness" from the night before. they are really fun though and great workers when they actually work!
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:57 AM
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Do you really want someone who is actually sick and doesn't want to be there coming in to work? No only will she be exposing the kids who will in turn be getting sick then, her work probably won't be up to par that day. What is your plan if she goes over 3 days? Firing? not getting paid? 3 days doesn't sound like a lot to me but I now get 8 sick days a year plus 4 weeks paid vacation. I generally use a lot of my sick days for my own kids who get sick or appointments that can't be made in the evenings or weekends. So when I get sick I go into work and expose everyone else to my illnesses.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by small_steps View Post
I understand what you're saying. However, it's just me and her. There is no one to call in to come in if one of us is out. I can occasionally get someone (a family member of mine to cover for advanced notice absences), etc but I can't, at the drop of a hat get someone to come in and cover for her when she's absent. I'm a licensed home that can have 12 kiddos when I have two people here. She recently said she really needed to go full time if possible. I explained to her that I can enroll more kids so she can have full time but that it's full time and that I need to know when she'll take off as much in advance as possible. Not I come in when I'm feeling like it or I can take off at the drop of a hat. We have made a commitment to these families and I just feel like I should be able to remain open if at all possible.
I have always ran my daycare like a center based program. I do not close unless it is absolutely necessary. I have to be really sick (fever or stomach virus) to even think about closing and even then I scramble like crazy to find a back up sub (my sisters and mom can back up sometimes for me). I have probably closed no more than 5 times In the past 8 years for illness and bad weather. I believe at least twice was for bad weather. Unfortunately I understand that's not the way everyone does things. And that some employees have a hard time with attendance and so I feel like having a policy in place would maybe deter them from calling in with a bad headache or stomach cramps because it's pms. That's what I'm running into a lot.
Most of it's my fault because I'm too nice and don't say do anything about it. If I have a policy I feel like I would be more willing to terminate or write someone up for possible termination...Hey you've had 5 absences this year so far and our policy is that that many absences are grounds for termination, Etc just to cover my butt.
Everyone sees this issue so differently too. An above poster mentioned we don't go to the doctor etc, but then again some daycares in my area say if you're sick enough to miss work you're sick enough to go to the doctor.
What's required in your state? Does she actually have to be helping you, or just present? I have someone come when I'm sick. She doesn't have to have all of the same training as me, because I'm still on site...I'm just hiding in my room with a box of kleenex and a bucket. Can you handle the group on your own if she just comes over and sleeps in another room because she's sick?

Probably not doable, just thinking out loud from the perspective of someone that used to use her spouse as back up.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:46 AM
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How many lie about being sick though? That is why a doctors note is helpful.
I had someone do that. First day to start and was super sick. Went to the doctor and all but didn't have any paperwork or proof. Sorry but i'm skeptical when people call out on a regular basis.
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:11 AM
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How many lie about being sick though? That is why a doctors note is helpful.
I had someone do that. First day to start and was super sick. Went to the doctor and all but didn't have any paperwork or proof. Sorry but i'm skeptical when people call out on a regular basis.
I would be weary of someone who calls off a lot and probably suggest a doc trip at that point, but I get sick and don't go to the doc every time because it's a waste of time and money. And everyone's level of handling sickness is so different. I can be sick with fever and a respiratory illness and work through it with meds, but like last week, my whole family got some kind of stomach bug, and it was 24 hours of vomiting and diahrea and there is no way I could work through that! of course, there are some who think the sniffles is reason enough to call in, so I think just sitting down and having a clear talk about expectations will help a lot and hopefully, they have a stong immune system!
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Old 10-11-2017, 07:20 AM
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How many lie about being sick though? That is why a doctors note is helpful.
I had someone do that. First day to start and was super sick. Went to the doctor and all but didn't have any paperwork or proof. Sorry but i'm skeptical when people call out on a regular basis.
I agree with this as I've found over the years that one person's definition of "sick" is not the same as another's.
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Old 10-11-2017, 10:10 AM
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My SIL used to call off for period cramps. I was like
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:02 PM
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What's required in your state? Does she actually have to be helping you, or just present? I have someone come when I'm sick. She doesn't have to have all of the same training as me, because I'm still on site...I'm just hiding in my room with a box of kleenex and a bucket. Can you handle the group on your own if she just comes over and sleeps in another room because she's sick?

Probably not doable, just thinking out loud from the perspective of someone that used to use her spouse as back up.
That's an idea if I get desperate. It just says they have to be present. My main issue is I don't think it's legit sickness. I think it's just not having the "want to" to come to work. Legit sick yes please stay home. But staying up late and having a head ache the next morning because you didn't get enough sleep. Those are the things that irk me. And that's what I think a lot of this is.
And it's normal. She isn't the first one like this.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:04 PM
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I would be weary of someone who calls off a lot and probably suggest a doc trip at that point, but I get sick and don't go to the doc every time because it's a waste of time and money. And everyone's level of handling sickness is so different. I can be sick with fever and a respiratory illness and work through it with meds, but like last week, my whole family got some kind of stomach bug, and it was 24 hours of vomiting and diahrea and there is no way I could work through that! of course, there are some who think the sniffles is reason enough to call in, so I think just sitting down and having a clear talk about expectations will help a lot and hopefully, they have a stong immune system!
Yes I think a good firm talk is in order. Even my daycare parent suggested that she needs some vitamins or something because be her immune system must be bad for her to get sick as much as she does. So I do know that I'm not the only one who thinks she calls in more than normal, lol.
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Old 10-12-2017, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by amberrose3dg View Post
How many lie about being sick though? That is why a doctors note is helpful.
I had someone do that. First day to start and was super sick. Went to the doctor and all but didn't have any paperwork or proof. Sorry but i'm skeptical when people call out on a regular basis.
This is my thought process also. When an employee who never or rarely calls in is sick I really believe them usually but a day or two (sometimes more) a month is pretty excessive to me and if you're that sick you really should get a doctor to check you out and see if there's something else going on in my opinion.
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:10 PM
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My SIL used to call off for period cramps. I was like
I had undiagnosed fibroids until I was 25 (still have them, but childbirth took the pain away thank God) and I would pass out, throw up and hallucinate from the pain. I didn't feel comfortable calling in, and went to work anyway and spent lots of time in the bathroom crying . So I kinda get that one.
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