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From nice to nasty

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Teri, a director at an Iowa-based manufacturer, shares her story about employees who donate their earned time off to help their peers.

Our full-time employees accrue earned time off, just like at other companies. But we have a problem. Normally, employees use their time off for vacations or personal matters like elder care. Recently, a few of our workers needed extra time off for emergencies. What?s sad is, their pay was docked because they had already used all their earned time off.

These employees are well liked and many of us were upset they lost pay. They live paycheck to paycheck, so they were penalized for misfortune beyond their control. Anyway, now we're talking about letting employees donate unused time off to peers who need it for personal emergencies. It's a nice idea. It brings us closer when we sacrifice a little bit for each other. But as we hash out a policy, I'm confronting lots of ill will. Some employees fear the most popular people will benefit (because their co-workers will happily donate time off for them), while less-friendly types will be stuck (because their co-workers will be less apt to help).

Some firms provide an "earned time bank" that any employee can tap. People are resisting that idea because they don't want to donate time off without knowing who will benefit and whether that person truly deserves it. All this arguing is getting out of hand!

Some people are blaming employees who don't save their paid time off. "Sheila took a trip to Vegas six months ago and now her kid is sick," a co-worker told me. "I don't take vacations. Why should I donate time off to her?"

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