Should I inquire about an employee’s every-other-Tuesday absence pattern?

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in The HR Specialist Forum

One of our employees has called in sick every other Tuesday for the past three months. She gets her work done and has plenty of sick leave, so I’m not worried she’s abusing our leave policy. But I am worried something is going on that HR should know about. Would I be out of line to ask her about her absences?—C.S., California



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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

RJ Wells January 12, 2010 at 2:59 pm

First of all unless the issue is of an urgent nature, the employee should be instructed to follow proper channels, when an employee is allowed to bad mouth a member of managment or other staff I would bet that the problem lies with the employee voicing the complaint. If this employee is given a valid ear he/she will continue and it may lead to a law suit later. This type of employee is a trouble maker and is not a valid one at that.

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willie b. smart April 7, 2009 at 4:22 pm

how should management react when when the peoples under them go to upper management with made up tales with the intent of putting pressure on you. when they are not allowed to do things that they should not be doing anyway not this is usually driven by the union

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celt365 April 1, 2009 at 8:42 am

I agree with the folks saying she may be eligible for FMLA leave. Talk with her privately about the pattern. I once had to ignore this type of conversation happening in the next cubicle. Nothing was accomplished because the employee was uncomfortable talking about the issue in public.

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Trish Kenney March 31, 2009 at 5:12 pm

You definately should address this with her but be careful how you do tis. You make want to tell her that you notice that she has been taking every other Tuesday off and ask if there is any way that HR could be of assistance to her. I agree that you may raise the issue that she may be eligible for FMLA leave. Do you have an EAP program? Offer her the information regarding this.. Do you have a sick leave policy? If so fall back on that if she is violating it.

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Glenna March 31, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Our policies give us the discretion to require an employee to present a note from a health care provider following any use of sick leave. We do not normally ask for it unless the sick leave usage exceeds three days, but have done it when we beleive an employee is abusing sick leave. I would simply tell the employee you have noticed a distinct pattern to her sick leave usage and are requesting the note to validate the necessity of the leave. There could be a very valid reason such as a standing medical appointment for her or a family member. Another way to address this might be to raise the issue she may be eligible for intermittent FMLA leave.

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Rosemary March 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Maintenance of good attendance is a condition of employment. I would meet with her as she has established a pattern – 6 absences in 3 months seems to be excessive, and periodic sick leave taken on a repeated basis may be viewed as abuse of the system. It is an employee’s responsibility to establish legitimate illness or injury to receive sick pay, and there may be a good reason for her absences. I would certainly discuss it with her.

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Diane March 31, 2009 at 4:26 pm

If you have ever taken Drug Free Workplace Training, this is the #1 pattern to watch out for. May not be drugs, but could be alcohol. You are also setting a precedence for other employees.

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