What's Your Problem?

Management Today, March 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

What's Your Problem?


Q: I run a logistics business with around 80 staff, and recently one of the warehouse managers told me that she was getting divorced. It transpires that the break-up has been rather messy and she has asked for some time off to get her head around recent events. I didn't want to seem like an ogre, and she truly was in a terrible state, so I granted her a week's unpaid leave, which she took. She now wants to take a further two weeks. I do sympathise, but we're a small management team and we're already feeling the strain. How much time off for these things is reasonable?

A: Before you do anything else, be absolutely certain that you're well advised on all up-to-date aspects of employment law. I'm not suggesting your decisions should be governed by inhuman adherence to someone else's guidelines; just that you don't want to be taken by surprise should this situation deteriorate further.

The fact that the first week's leave you granted her was unpaid seems a little mean to me. I would have thought that a valued employee, going through a deeply stressful time, and with or without a doctor's note, should not have been further penalised. Assuming that she is indeed a valued employee, and that you all want to see her fully recovered and back at work, she deserves a little more generosity. …

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