Keena Cauthen

We have two options. Option 1, you call your supervisor or one of the other supervisors in the building. While I was a supervisor, I gave my home phone as well as the work #, since I was one of those who comes in later than others but am up early with kiddos. Those supervisors who don’t want to give out a personal number do not have to, as long as their office number is provided. Most employees have at least 2 numbers for supervisors and the instruction is you have to TALK TO a supervisor — not leave a message, not e-mail, but talk to a supervisor. This is for those employees who may not have the leave, but like to call in sick and when they don’t get paid for those days, play the “I didn’t know… no one told me that” card. So everyone has to speak to a supervisor if they call in under Option 1.

Option 2 started about 2 years ago and seems to running fairly smoothly. There is a leave line to be used for calling in sick. It is the same # for all employees and you are expected to have called in by 0900 (the latest time you could report for work without being absent). By 0930 the messages are picked up off this line by someone in the front office and this list of employees out sick is shared with the supervisors via e-mail by 1000. The rules for the leave line is that you cannot use it if you have less than 40 hours of leave (cummulative) at the time you are calling in. If you do not have the 40 hours of leave, then you must use Option 1, thus ensuring that you speak to a supervisor.

Both of these options require communication. In Option 1, the supervisors share the information of those employees who are short on leave, normally on Friday morning during their daily meeting. In Option 2, it is imperative that the front office is timely on getting their information out or supervisors are wondering where employees are at and trying to call them at home.

I must say, I was skeptical at first about the leave line, but it is showing it is working. Employees aren’t having to call numerous times, or wait till a specific time to call in. Many are calling in at some unholy hour when they realise that they are sick and won’t make it in, thus ensuring that when they get to sleep, they don’t have to worry about waking up just to report in. Employees who do not have the required # of hours to call in on the leave line know it, and are aware of the reprecussions if they use it when they are not eligible. The Union is happy, because we are working with the employees who are not abusing their leave and holding those who possibly are to a tighter restriction, and none of it against the contract. Employees are happy, because for once there seems to be a policy that isn’t put in place to punish the whole, when only a minority are causing the issue, and it has helped morale (unexpected benefit).