employee is always sick on Mondays, how many finalists are there for most jobs, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Employee frequently calls out sick on Mondays

I have an employee who I hired 6 months ago from another department (they have been at the organization a total of 5+ years). This person is an excellent worker – detail oriented, a problem solver, and a dedicated employee. They are always willing to take on a project and work stay after-hours whenever needed. However, they have a habit of calling in sick on Monday mornings.

I have a really lax leave policy. I have worked places where I felt bad needing to take a sick day, or avoided scheduling my vacation because I knew my boss didn’t like us taking it. I don’t want to be one of those bosses, so I am okay with people taking sick days or vacation days on short notice. However, this person consistently exhausts all their leave and always on Mondays. When they have 8 hours of sick leave saved up, I can be sure in the next week or two to receive a call on Monday morning that they are injured or sick.

It is now time to write this person’s 6-month review and I feel obligated to document this behavior. Not because I want it to stop, because like I said, I’m generally okay with people taking any sick or vacation leave they have accrued. If this person started calling in sick without time accrued, that would be a problem for me and I would be sure to sit the person down and let them know that behavior needs to change. But that is not the case here. I won’t be in this position forever, so I feel like I owe it to the next supervisor to have this behavior documented, at least in a neutral matter-of-factly way, in case it becomes a problem in the future. Like I said, this person really is a good worker. Should I even be including this behavior in a review if I personally don’t have a problem with it?

If you don’t have a problem with it, it shouldn’t be an issue you raise in a review. And if you don’t think the person is doing anything wrong, you don’t need to document it for the next manager. (Also, you should try to avoid raising things in a review that you haven’t already discussed with the employee and — ideally — given them a chance to correct.)

I’d want to know more about how the behaviors impacts work, if at all. Do coworkers get stuck covering for the person, or does it not impact others? Does the person use good judgment and only call out on days where it won’t be a big deal, or does it happen when important work is due or she’s supposed to be at a key meeting? And are you at all concerned that she continually zeros out her balance of sick leave and won’t have any when she has a more urgent need for it? (Of course, that assumes she’s just using it for kicks now. It’s entirely possible she has a legitimate recurring medical appointment that she happens to schedule for Mondays; who knows.)

If there’s really no impact to having lots of unscheduled absences, then carry on. (Although you might mention to her that while it’s fine with you because she’s an excellent worker, she shouldn’t assume it will be fine with other managers.) But if there is an impact, you probably should consider saying something to her about the pattern.

2. I took on a bunch of new work for a promotion that I didn’t get

A few months ago, a promotion opened up in my department under a different manager. I had all the qualifications and an interest so I applied. The hiring manager told me I was the only applicant and had no competition and began parading me around with her to meetings and introducing me as the person who had gotten the promotion. I was given access to her employees’ information, worked on a daily basis for her, and was given access to a lot of company information before I would normally be allowed (if at all) to access it in my current role. All of this was done after the interviews but before I had an offer, and I admit partial guilt in being so pleased to get out of my current role where I was bored to tears that I just went along with it. To boot, my current boss never once said a word about all the work I was doing for someone else and happily approved all exceptions if I needed my workload reduced to do it.

After about a month of this (yes our hiring process is that long), I was pulled aside and advised that someone externally had a few more years experience than me and was being given the promotion. The manager cut off all contact with me and does not appear to have addressed the issue with her employees, as I was approached by quite a few of them asking if I had suddenly quit and why.

Of course, I am disappointed as I interviewed my best and did all this work only to be passed up for someone who came in externally, but I am understanding of the process and admit I was never forced to do anything. But I feel like this manager’s boss should be aware that she not only is treating people like this but is giving them access to sensitive information. But I am sensitive to how it may look like retaliation if I start reporting her now. Do you think I should say something and do you have any suggestions for how to phrase it so I am clear I am okay with the job decision but just want the boss to know? Or am I better off keeping my head down and moving on?

Ugh, that was terribly handled. It would have been one thing to pull you into one or two meetings to give you a sense of the work you’d be doing in the new role and to give your prospective manager a chance to see you in action, but it sounds like she practically had you start work in the new position, just without making it official. And then, even worse, she rudely cut you loose without any explanation, when you were very much owed one.

That said, I don’t think you gain much by reporting it to her boss, and there’s a fairly high chance that it’ll end up reflecting on you (i.e.., you were fine with it when you thought it was to your benefit, but object now that it’s not). That’s not really an accurate take on it — you were led to believe you were getting the job, which is another problem — but there’s a decent chance it’ll come across that way.

If you have good rapport with your current manager, you could ask her about it — something like, “I feel a little uneasy about Jane having given me access to sensitive employee information and then ultimately going with another candidate, as well as about the fact that she hasn’t talked to me at all since deciding to hire someone else. Do you think it’s worth me trying to find a polite way to point that out, or should I just let it drop?”

But otherwise I’d just file this away as useful information about how that manager operates.

3. How many “finalists” do employers usually have for a job?

I know this will vary from employer to employer, but in general, how many candidates proceed to “finalist” status? I was recently told I was a finalist for a position, and I am still in the unfortunate, torturous position of waiting to hear a yay or nay after my last interview. So I guess my question is: would you say, on average, the finalist pool is comprised of 2 candidates, 3, 5? I am just curious what a person’s chances are once they enter the final round of interviews.

It depends on what the company means by “finalist.” Some people use that term to mean “we’ve done all our interviews and it’s come down to two candidates who we need to decide between.” Other people use it to mean “people who have made it through initial screening and are moving forward to in-person interviews.”

If you’ve already interviewed and are being told you’re a finalist, it’s most likely to be you and one, two, or three other people. And if they’re hiring for multiple slots, it could be more than that.

4. Wearing a seersucker suit to a job interview

It is now summer in Alabama and quite hot and the A/C in my car is not the best. Is it appropriate to wear a seersucker suit to a job interview? I have always thought of a seersucker suit as more of a casual suit and not appropriate for a job interview. What do you think?

Seersucker is too casual for a job interview. But I’d wear other light fabrics, and carry the jacket with you rather than wearing it (at least while you’re in your car).

5. Can I give a gift to the HR person who helped hire me?

I read your article about giving gifts at work. I just got a job and the HR person in charge of my hiring had been very nice to me right from my first interview. Can I give her a cinema gift card of about $50 so she can do a movie with her family sometime this summer? Is that a good deal or any other options or recommendation?

Noooo, do not do this. It will make her uncomfortable, and is too close to appearing to give her a gift for hiring you (when in fact she was just doing her job and helping to hire the best candidate). You can certainly send her a note thanking her for her help during the hiring process, but that’s it — no gifts.

{ 383 comments… read them below }

  1. Not helpful

    #1 – It seems to me that you do have a problem with the Monday absences. you have to decide what you really expect from the employees. And be careful in attempting “not to be one of those bosses” that you don’t go too much in the other direction. It is rarely either /or. If there is no problem there’s nothing to discuss. If the absences effect her work or the work of others address that.

    # 5 – What is this obsession with giving gifts? The HR person was doing their job and should do it well and with good interactions. Just because someone is nice doesn’t mean they should get a gift. Good employees should be recognized by their employees.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Re: #5– recognition by employers, sure. In this case, however, the newly-hired person wants to give the HR person a gift for doing her job. It’s akin to showing up on your first day of work with a thank-you gift for your new boss for “giving” you the job. It’s uncomfortable for the recipient, and honestly, it makes the new hire look less confident and a bit of a suck-up, like, “OMG, thank you SO much for going above and beyond and GIVING me this job.” No– the new hire was hired for a reason, presumably based on qualifications, and a job is not a gift worthy of thanks.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        Aaand… I failed at reading comprehension this morning. Seems that we agree. D’oh! Sorry about that!

      2. penny

        Agreed with both of you, I would feel weird and awkward about accepting such a gift. I even am a little uncomfortable when people thank me for “helping” them get hired. I mean, I don’t do it as a favor to the candidates or even or employees if it’s a referral. You wouldn’t get hired if we didn’t think you were a good candidate so I’m just doing my job and what’s best for the company. You got yourself the job by being the best candidate.

  2. Gnora

    #4 – In addition to not being formal enough, you may run the risk of looking a bit like a Southern stereotype, and not in a good way but in an out of touch way, if you showed up in seersucker. I say this as someone who’s lived their whole life in Alabama and knows just how bad the heat can get! Though it can look really classy when done right casually, I wish it was a more popular look.

    1. Bend & Snap

      I grew up in Texas and LOVE seersucker, but agree it’s too casual.

      My seersucker blazer does come out at work though.

    2. Felicia

      I had to Google what seersucker even is and don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wearing one. Possibly because I’m from Canada and we’re generally more concerned with how to dress in winter? :) Judging by Google that would be fine at my office but not at lots of others.

      1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

        It’s almost certainly because you are from Canada :-). It is very southern. There is a lawyer around here who wears a seersucker suit with rainbow stripes in the summer and it’s awesome. But it does send a message in the south, and lots of people will smile at seersucker.

        1. Dang

          I’m from the northeast US and had never heard of it either.. but I recognized it once googled :)

          1. Pearl116

            My family is from Boston, and I live here. My mom loves seersucker. Her aunt was a buyer for Jordan Marsh back in its heyday, so I’m sure my mom learned of its usefulness in July and August here from her aunt! I grew up wearing it during Summers, and as one who cannot abide by the heat, I have a black, short-sleeved, formal looking blouse I wear to some interviews. It takes jewelry well. Everything else is formal (and not, as my other blouses, ruined!)

      2. BTW

        Another Canadian here! :) I had to chuckle at your post because I did the exact same thing haha! Although I have seen them around the odd time.

      3. super anon

        Canadian as well. I didn’t know what seersucker was so googled it and it doesn’t look overly casual to me? Maybe it’s a cultural difference and there’s a history I don’t understand because I’m not from the South, but if I saw someone wearing one I wouldn’t think they were unprofessional, especially if it fit well and they wore it with a tie, like the picture I saw. It just looks like a pinstriped suit to me, and I rather like the look of it.

        I may also be biased because in my office anything goes. Our director regularly wears cargo shorts with polo shirts and birkenstocks, so any kind of suit and tie would be very overdressed here.

        1. Melissa

          It’s partially cultural – seersucker is kind of like the Southern equivalent of preppy. You wear it to the family country club gathering or to your rich cousin’s wedding on St. Simon’s Island or something.

          But the other thing is that most Internet photographs of seersucker suits don’t really convey what they look like (I just Googled them myself to see). It’s not just the color – the material has a distinct texture to it, like a wrinkling or puckering.

    3. K.

      I’m in the urban northeast and we don’t see a ton of seersucker, in my experience – usually older generations wear it. My grandfather had a seersucker suit that he wore to our graduations, for example, and my best friend told me about a very senior (both in age and status) partner at her law firm that wore seersucker in summer. My former colleague, who’s around forty, wore a seersucker suit at a conference (the conference was in another area, although not the South) and a bunch of people teased him. I told him I thought he looked sharp.

    4. The OP aka cajun2core

      Thanks for the info everyone. I have not heard of corporate wool but I will check into it. Also, I know better than to wear polyester in the summer. I grew-up in Louisiana in the 70’s-80’s (when polyester was king) so I know that it doesn’t breath at all. I am not familiar with Corporette but I will check into it. Luckily I have not bought the suit yet and haven’t started interviewing yet so I still have a chance to go out and buy a new suit (not seersucker).

      1. eplawyer

        I can second, third, fourth, whatever Corporette. It is so helpful for ideas, even if you don’t go with the exact.

        I wear a seersucker suit to court in Maryland and never heard anything. Except one magistrate likes to tease me. But not a job interview because you want to be as conservative as possible.

      2. Rebecca

        Another blog I love for office clothing ideas is Capitol hill style. She gives great ideas for different types of office dress codes as wel.

      3. zora

        The Halogen brand at Nordstrom often has lighter cotton-based blend suits that are light, but don’t wrinkle, but look professional. They were my favorite for the hottest days in muggy DC. There might be some polyester in the blend, but they are mostly cotton/rayon/natural fabrics which makes them very breathable and comfortable in the heat.

    5. The OP aka cajun2core

      Gnora – I also wish it was more formal as I would love to wear one. Roll Tide!

    6. cuppa

      My brother loves seersucker, and until I saw Alabama, I was going to ask him if he was an AAM poster. :)

    7. DC Anon

      Haha, yes. My husband loves seersucker, and when we lived in the South (where he is from), he wore it a lot and and I didn’t have a problem with it. But when we moved to DC (where I am from) I explained that it was kind of inappropriate to wear here- it absolutely carries a bit of a negative Southern stereotype connotation here, I think. Which he thought was weird at first but after a year or two of observing social norms he now agrees with me. In some ways it’s kind of sad, because it’s such a great summer fabric.

      1. Kerry (Like the County in Ireland)

        I grew up in NJ, and seersucker is the preppiest of preppy to me. My grammar school spring uniforms were a choice of pink, blue, yellow or green seersucker, and one of my high school English teachers wore seersucker and bowties. My sisters currently trade a seersucker dress between them that one bought becuse it was a dupe of those grammar school dresses, but more flattering for an adult woman.

    8. TootsNYC

      My husband used to have a suit made of a very narrow seersucker stripe that looked essentially pale blue. You really had to get up close to tell. It *might* have been conservative enough for an interview at the types of places he would work (where any suit was unusual). Maybe.

      And it was totally good once he had the job.

      But it was a very, very, very narrow stripe.

      1. Cheryl

        My boyfriend has a very narrow stripe gray seersucker suit that he wears formally, looks light gray and a perfect summer suit. I love it on him.

    9. Alma

      There was a fundraiser for a nonprofit near here, and all the men wore seersucker suits. Straw hats are coming back, especially in these days of dermatological caution; there were some braces, and quite a few bow ties. It was quite an event.

    10. chump with a degree

      I saw a seersucker suit in Los Angeles the other day-it would have been more successful without sneakers.

    11. Kat

      Growing up in northern ca, I wore sundresses my grandma made from seersucker. I loved those dresses.

      She was from Louisiana. I miss her gumbo :(

    12. the OP aka cajun2core

      Thanks again to everyone for your comments. As I mentioned before I will look into tropical wool and the corporette blog and the other blogs mentioned. Thanks to Allison and this blog, I didn’t waste money on a seersucker suit or even worse go to an interview in one.

  3. Natalie

    Although #4 probably can’t source this in time for the interview, question: would a linen suit be okay? (I know I’ve had linen pants that wrinkled to hell and back, but maybe the suits are a blend or something.)

    1. Turanga Leela

      I wouldn’t interview in a linen suit because of the wrinkling issue. Unless the linen is very stiff, it usually looks kind of beach-y. This calls for tropical wool, or maybe cotton? J.Crew sells both cotton and linen suits, but they also sell floral suits and suits with shorts, so I’m not sure we can trust them.

      Do not, I repeat, do NOT attempt to save money by buying a polyester suit for your interview in August. That happened to, um, someone I know.

      1. Bend & Snap

        Tropical wool is the way to go! Cotton can be hot too, if it’s a sateen or something dressy enough for an interview.

      2. Nea

        Ye gods and green fish! You might as well wrap yourself in trash bags as wear polyester in a southern summer.

    2. GOG11

      There are some good posts on Corporette about how to dress/what fabrics to wear for interviews when it’s really hot outside.

    3. the OP aka cajun2core

      Thanks again to everyone for your comments. As I mentioned before I will look into tropical wool and the corporette blog and the other blogs mentioned. Thanks to Allison and this blog, I didn’t waste money on a seersucker suit or even worse go to an interview in one.

  4. UKAnon

    OP #1, you say you are ok with this, but it sounds like actually you have some qualms. Have you asked the employee why they always miss Mondays? Perhaps if you knew there was a good reason it would help you to rationalise this; if there isn’t a good reason then you can decide how to approach it. But it sounds like while you’re ok in principle with it this one is bothering you.

    1. Steve G

      My “diagnosis” from the limited info here is that they are saying they are OK with it, but they aren’t really. Maybe they are trying to act like they are OK with it to make themself more liked but really resent having such a lax attendance policy….because it is seems to bother you that someone is doing something you say you’re OK with…then you’re probably not totally OK with it….and wanting to document it is showing that they feel something is off

      1. A Bug!

        I think it’s a case where sometimes one’s gut feelings aren’t the reasonable response. It feels like the issue should be a problem, but in practice, it’s not, because the employee is still a great performer and the missed days don’t seem to hurt anything. But OP’s having trouble getting past the gut feeling, and is looking for some sort of confirmation one way or the other.

        1. LBK

          And I think a lot of that is cultural – we’re ever so slowly pulling away from it, but the US working culture still very much drills into people that punctuality and attendance are equally, if not more important than results.

          1. Anna

            Maybe, but it’s one thing to have a culture where working four days is cool as long as you’re doing your work and another thing to not really have that culture and someone is just deciding they don’t need to be there for the days they’ve actually agreed to be there.

          2. Vicki

            I knew a manager who allowed people in his department to work from home one day a week, but never on Fridays because, as he put it “Three Day Weekend No Way”.

            This is what’s called “projection”. The belief that of someone is taking a sick day on Monday there must be some nefarious reason.

            OP #1 – Ask yourself this question: If the employee were taking Tuesdays or Wednesday, would you have the same gut reaction? If not, why not?

            1. Kat

              I think it’s the fact that it has become a predictable pattern.

              I was threatened with being fired for using all 12 hrs of sick leave by December. (I was a special needs bus aide for a school). I used most of the sick leave taking care of my kids, who were frequently sick because other parents refused to keep their sick kids home. …and K-3rd graders are walking germ factories.

              I do not miss that job. I resigned and switched to subbing. If my kids were sick, I didnt have to work or get bitched at for missing work.

        2. TootsNYC

          Actually, sometimes I think the gut response *is* more accurate than the reasoned-out response. There are often subtle “costs” of something like this that you think you can explain away, but they’re there, and you’re sensing them without being able to articulate it.

          Not always. But we can talk ourselves out of a reasonable-but-instinctive reaction.

          1. Sunflower

            True but are these ‘costs’ something that wouldn’t be a problem if she called out on the same consistent basis but on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead?

            1. WonderOfficeWoman

              I’ve been in a position where a co-worker repeatedly called out sick on a Wednesday, and it did have costs. In addition to the fact that she was most likely calling out so she wouldn’t have to run a weekly meeting (she alternated running it with me and was very often out on “her” designated weeks), it became a running joke in the group. “Coworker’s not here? Must be a Wednesday!”

              There were only so many Wednesdays we could believe were actually true sick days.

              1. WonderOfficeWoman

                Meant to add – the rest of us started to resent that she could apparently choose to not perform a task she didn’t like by just calling in “sick.”

              2. Vicki

                Well, if she was supposed to be running a meeting, then yes.

                I took alternate Wednesday afternoons off for about a year at one job because I had enough PTO time stacked up. I didn’t have meetings. There was no work I was trying to avoid. I simply had PTO at the edge of the accumulation max and liked having a break in the middle of the week.

      2. Stranger than fiction

        I totally agree, Steve. I think Op wants to have her cake and eat it too – have a totally relaxed time off policy+nobody take advantage of it. But that’s not realistic, and clearly if she digs deep enough, I think she feels the employee is taking advantage, if just a tad. I think it’s worth it for her to have a conversation, but doesn’t need to be documented yet, especially since the employee is under the assumption everything is cool. If it is some regular Monday appointment, maybe they can arrange for him/her to make up those hours at another time during the week or something (if they’re salaried).

        1. TootsNYC

          Or simply to have them stated and acknowledged and accepted.

          So the OP isn’t left with the consistent impression that she’s being taken advantage of.

          And if the OP has the conversation about it, it’ll probably come clearer in her mind.

        2. Vicki

          Why does the employee need to make up the hours? She’s not simply not showing up. She’s using “sick” (PTO) time.

          If she has to “make up” the time (which, if she’s salaried exempt is not required, by law), then she also shouldn’t need to use the PTO time.

    2. jmkenrick

      Eh, I don’t know – she might well not have a problem with it, just be wondering if it’s something she *should* be concerned about. Sometimes if you see new or unusual behavior, you have to stop and consider if it’s an issue or not – and part of that process is getting feedback from others.

      Regardless, I agree that OP #1 should ask about it. That doesn’t necessarily mean put it in the review, but let the employee know that she’s noticed the pattern. It would be nice if vacation time & sick time were in the same bucket at their company…some people just enjoy the occasional 3-day weekend and if the job allowed for it, it might be easier to have the employee schedule a recurring PTO day every month or so.

      Of course, either way, OP should be clear about her feelings before the meeting, so she’s not sending mixed or confusing messages to her employee.

      1. Stranger than fiction

        That’s what’s weird about it. I mean, generally people tend to have more vacation than sick time. Why wouldn’t they just schedule it off and why the last minute call-in? If the manager/Op is so relaxed about it, why wouldn’t the employee just ask, even if it’s on Friday? Unless, they’re one of those people that’s never ever sick, then I could understand they just want to use up their sick time.

        1. KimPossible

          I work for the government, so have an equal number of sick and vacation days. My fiance lives abroad, so I need to save all of my vacation days for when I visit him, which means I will usually have a week off but then months in between where I have no time off unless it’s a company holiday. I am one of those people that never ever get sick so if I’m having a stressful week I will just take a mental health day. Although I never do it on a Monday/Friday and definitely not when I have meetings or deadlines that day. It is a little suspicious that the employee always calls out on Mondays, but if he has sick days as part of his benefits package he is entitled to use all of them as long as it’s not affecting his work. He doesn’t have to save them up if he doesn’t want to.

      2. Vicki

        OMG I have an employee doing something “unusual”. No one else does this so it must be a problem.

        I know, I’ll mention it in her review!

      3. Katie

        I agree about asking too. There could be a substantial reason for this that should be addressed.

        This is a total shot in the dark, but say the employee has a child and splits custody every other weekend. Maybe they want to drive their kid to school on those Mondays, and the only way to do that without feeling guilty about the time impact — and the fact that those weekends run them ragged — is to use the accrued sick time.

        Maybe they go away to take care of an ill relative in another state every few weekends. They’re not the one who’s sick, but maybe it helps out a lot if they take that ill relative to a recurring doctor’s appointment every other Monday.

        Is it borderline abuse of sick policy to use these hours when they’re not actually sick? Sure. But they did earn it.

    3. Worker Bee (Germany)

      Slightly of topic: I am confused, does OP have one or more employees who don’t show up on Mondays? OP often says “they” which implies more than one to me? Which is why I wondered if the OP doesnt like to many peps to be out in a Monday morning

          1. Elizabeth West

            We don’t really have a gender-neutral singular pronoun in English. People use “they” even though it’s not strictly grammatically correct. It bugs me but I know of no alternative.

              1. fposte

                To be clear, Chicago doesn’t recommend its use–there was a rogue opinion in an edition twenty years ago that did and it was swiftly amended.

            1. JB (not in Houston)

              As others have said, it’s not technically incorrect. But it is such a common belief that people see it and think it’s wrong. Sort of how people are told you can’t start sentences with “And” or “But” when it’s actually not grammatically incorrect.

              1. fposte

                I would say it *is* technically incorrect, by prescriptive rules, but it’s acceptable and even useful in all but formal discourse.

    4. Anonicorn

      I can understand OP’s concern if the employee is always hovering near 0 hours pto and mandatory office closings come out of that same pool, and then the employee goes into the negative. (That’s how our system works at least – vacation, holidays, & sick are all in the same pool.)

      Additionally, it seems unfortunate that someone 5+ years in an organization hasn’t accrued more time than this. It’s totally possible the employee prefers to use his/her time this way, but having time off (more than one extra day at a time) is one of those things meant to increase happiness & retention. So I’d be concerned about that too.

      1. Arjay

        A lot of places won’t allow you to accrue much time year over year. We can only carry over 40 hours of general PTO (used for vacation and sick days), so we can’t bank up much of a reserve. I’ve been here 8 years and due to an FMLA leave, I think I have about 7 hours in my PTO bank currently. Of course, I do hope to be able to build that balance up some, instead of taking another day off as soon as I have 8 hours accrued.

        1. Anonicorn

          Only 40? That’s pretty bad. We can get 500 something hours before we begin losing it. Not that I have anywhere close to that amount!

          But you make a good point; we don’t know how much, if any, PTO the OP’s organization allows them to carry over. I feel like they have to have some carry-over, though, otherwise it would probably be a larger pattern not unique to this one employee.

      2. NDR

        It sounds like she could accrue more, just that she takes it as soon as she has one full day. I had a direct report who would do that. In theory, we got 2 weeks sick leave per year, but as soon as she had 8-9 hours saved up, she’d take it, knocking her back to nothing.

    5. The IT Manager

      I agree, but I also think the employee is abusing the lax attitude, but I’m pretty firm that sick days should be for when you’re sick, under the weather, utterly exhausted, or medical appointments. I think the concern Alison mentioned that since the employee takes a sick day as soon as he has 8 hours of sick leave, he perpetually has no accrued sick days is a valid one. I think that is worth mentioning in the performance review. “You’re perpetually low on sick leave and I am concerned that when you are sick one day or worse for multiple days you will go in negative on your sick days or try to come in anyway which is what my lax policy tries to prevent.” This response does depend on what happens if an employee calls in sick with no sick days.

      I mean think of how many people get upset at contagious people who come into the office. If it happens with this person it wouldn’t be because the company doesn’t offer enough sick days.

    6. Jennifer

      If it’s always Mondays that they miss, and the second they have enough leave they’re out on Monday again, it….doesn’t exactly seem like they are actually sick and just want to play hooky from work a LOT. Or else they are sick in the “I have a hangover” sort of way. And when you make it very obvious that it’s always the same day out every time, almost all of the time, and the sick leave is used up at the first opportunity…. well, I don’t think that makes you a good worker. They may do well 4 days out of the week, but almost everyone in this world isn’t allowed a 4 day work week all the time.

      And yeah, what if they get ACTUALLY sick on a Wednesday and they’ve already used up their sick time on playing hooky on Monday?

      At the very least, I’d want to comment to the employee that if you are out almost every single Monday in particular, they should vary up their sick days. Take a Wednesday or a Friday (okay, maybe don’t encourage a Friday, they’ll probably just pull the same shit as Monday) so it doesn’t look so dang fishy.

      I’m biased on this because we had a woman working here who never, ever, ever made it in on a Monday. And if we were off on Monday, she’d be out sick on Tuesday. If she went on vacation for two weeks she’d IMMEDIATELY be sick for the next two weeks after that. I think she was genuinely sick with something chronic rather than playing hooky, but if you’re that level of constantly sick, maybe you just aren’t physically equipped to be working a full time supervisor job. (And when it’s a supervisor who’s out sick all the time, well, she may have the privilege to do it, but it means a lot of stuff was roadblocked because she wasn’t in there to deal with it.)

      1. Me too

        I’ve been waiting for someone to bring up the hangover issue. Isn’t calling in sick on Mondays the classic sign?

        1. The IT Manager

          Yes. I said it for the guy who called out on Friday’s because of lack of gas money. That’s what I suspect that the person is doing something the day/night before that’s causing the “illness” usually drinking until hungover. Real illnesses are usually not that regular to keep occurring on the same day.

          If for someone reason I knew a person travelled on the weekends, though, I might suspect that they were staying an extra day out of town or pushed off their return trip too late into the night to get enough rest for the work day.

          These are all self-inflicted. Calling out sick once or twice for this wouldn’t bother me, but a pattern means the employee needs to learn the lesson to stop doing the behavior that causes the “illness.”

          1. fposte

            It’s pretty common with stress-influenced illnesses to have a same day, especially a Monday, pattern. So I wouldn’t rule those out, but I wouldn’t rule out a hangover, either.

            1. HM in Atlanta

              This is an important distinction – especially if someone is a caregiver for someone else. I’ve had that pop up on my team. “Joan,” when she’s out, it always falls on a Monday. She doesn’t have a lot of sick leave either. When it happens, I know her mom had a bad weekend, Joan had to take care of her, didn’t get much (if any) sleep, and needs sleep/having a flare up of her own stress-influenced illness. So, we made a plan. When that happens, she texts or emails me on Sunday, and then she sleeps in on Monday. Then, works from home Monday afternoon. She’s less stressed about being out = more work/less stress-influenced days off.

              Everyone wins – including her co-workers (who see that people who need flexibility receive it and aren’t penalized for being human).

            2. Bangs not Fringe

              As a chronic migraineur, I used to get a regular Monday migraine that was a killer. Something like this can be very patterned and hard to control. For those saying “real illness” aren’t that regular, I beg to differ. It may or may not be the case here. However, it is a possibility that cannot be thrown aside.

              The manager simply needs to go to the employee with their concerns.

              1. The IT Manager

                The manager simply needs to go to the employee with their concerns.

                Yes 1000 times.

              2. Anonsie

                In my experience, real illnesses tend to be extremely regular. This came up a looong time ago with someone who I want to remember was always out on Thursdays and Fridays, there were a ton of us in the comments sharing our dumb predictable issues.

      2. Anonsie

        *carries in chronic illness soap box* *clambers on top*

        So for me, if have a flare and I absolutely have to be at work even though I’m not feeling well, most of the time I can eventually pull it off. It also drags out how long I feel bad, so where it may be a day and a half of cruddiness if I stayed home, going out and doing stuff pulls it out in to four or five and potentially the full week. This sucks, so if I have the ability to rest I will totally take it. I keep an eye on my PTO so I know whether or not I have that opportunity in advance. If I know I don’t, or if I have something important to do that I can’t miss, I have a ton of little things I can do (including some as-needed prescriptions) to get my shit together and go. No one knows how often I have to do this because of the classic “you don’t look sick,” but it’s a lot.

        I do tend to get some patterns with when during the week I’m most likely to lose stamina and crash, and it’s the same for a lot of my friends with similar conditions as well. I think this is a key to understanding how this all works: it’s about stamina. You periodically get a certain amount to use, and that means you tend to run out around the same times. If you looked back at all the days I ever took off, I’m guessing you would find a solid pattern of midweek crashes.

        And from several weeks ago when people were asking “if you have a medical condition, wouldn’t you disclose that?” The answer is no, not really. You might try to broach it and gauge a reaction but realistically, most people are hostile about this and most of us have learned after many bad experiences to just go with the type of sick everyone else understands and leave it at that. Some people will still get buggy and a few will probably assume you’re faking it, hungover, doing drugs, etc. but it’s actually usually way less trouble and judgement than actually being open about it. If you think people will be sympathetic to someone with serious health problems trying to get by, you are greatly overestimating the amount of empathy and kindness the average person has.

        So tl;dr I encourage people to give the benefit of the doubt with stuff like this because it’s really common for people with underlying health problems to have some similar patterns.

        1. Collarbone High

          *joins Anonsie on soap box*

          I’ve probably mentioned before that I have Crohn’s disease, and prior to my two surgeries, I was sick enough to miss work … pretty much every day of my adult life. And my sick days did take a pattern — unless I was in the hospital or completely unable to function, I’d only call out on days when I wouldn’t be inconveniencing everyone else. For me that meant Wednesdays were my most common sick day, because we were fully staffed and other people could easily fill in for me.

    7. cuppa

      I could be way off base here, and yes I’m over generalizing, but I have never had a high performer who did this kind of thing.
      Generally, the people who are consistently circling the drain on PTO without an extenuating circumstance are low performers and unreliable. It’s usually a symptom as a part of a larger problem.
      But, even after playing devil’s advocate, even if this person is a high performer, it wouldn’t surprise me if there is something else going on. Maybe they play in a sports league on Sundays and tend to drink too much after the games. Maybe there’s some sort of task that they are supposed to do that they absolutely dread doing so they call in sick when they can. Maybe they don’t like clearing the backlog of TPS reports that come in over the weekend. Even if it’s an allowable thing, there might be some sort of fixable cause, and therefore it might be worth having a conversation about.

  5. Steve G

    #1 – I am dying to know what the person is doing that the “calling in sick” happens so much on Monday because 2 common causes stick out to me from my experience, either they get home late from their summer house (a la Hamptons house, home upstate, or wherever your city has summer areas and traffic is bad on Sunday nights and it is easier to stay/drive back late)…or they had an alcohol abuse issue and “partied” on the weekend and wanted an extra night to do it.

    Also, if you are OK with the person coming in late, why make them call in sick? Why can’t they tell you Thursday or Friday, so at least you’d know a bit beforehand? I mean, since you’re a boss that doesn’t make your employees pretend to be sick when they need time off for personal use, why is someone still doing that?

    And lastly, the person was only hired 6 months ago and you already have an ongoing issue like this? Maybe you are TOO relaxed? I don’t know, just asking.

    #2 – This makes me angry. So what does the OP do to get ahead in the world at this point? I guess they quit at some point. Yeah, an external candidate may bring some other skills, but they don’t have the internal relationships, don’t know how the internal softwares work, don’t know your customers…etc. etc. etc. It’s not like they are coming in a complete package ready to function at 100% at a higher level than the OP.

    1. Nursey nurse

      Or the person could have a strenuous physical hobby that they pursue on weekends and be legitimately sore/injured on a series of Mondays, or have school-aged kids who are on furlough days some Mondays, or just really like three-day weekends. There are lots of possible reasons for the behavior.

      Regardless, if the OP is concerned, she should ask about it. Otherwise, I agree she should let it go. It sounds like it bothers her more than she is willing to let on, which really isn’t fair to her employee. The employee shouldn’t be dinged for engaging in behavior that her manager has expressly said is okay. If the OP wants to change the sick leave policy I assume that’s fine, but she needs to give all employees (including this one) appropriate notice.

      1. Gem

        Seriously, a three day weekend a couple of times a month? Sounds like bliss to me. I do a lot of stuff outside of work (volunteering, podcasting, I have a terrible comic habit) and so it would be nice to get an extra day, even if its just to catch up on housework!

          1. Anonsie

            When I was still trying to find out the source of my health problems, a lot of the doctors I saw wrote it off as totally normal because it’s not at all uncommon for an otherwise totally health person to get sick every couple of weeks. This always struck me as way more frequent than normal but apparently it’s not usual.

      2. Sunshine Brite

        I definitely jumped to rugby or roller derby based on my friend group being the culprit.

        1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

          Marathon running? I used to have an employee who would call in sick for three days after she ran a marathon. Which was a lot. And then get upset that her (generous…3 weeks/year) sick time was gone when she actually got sick, which was often. She would cry about how now she could afford to go to the doctor because she wasn’t getting paid for her extra days off. In my office predictable self-inflicted soreness caused by fun is not okay for sick time. Plan ahead and take vacation days.

          1. JC

            I get your annoyance at this person complaining about being out of sick time when she brought her “sickness” upon herself, especially when she does it often. I can see not going to work after running a marathon, though. I ran my first and only marathon in 2012, the Sunday before Hurricane Sandy, and I ended up getting two days off of work afterwards because of the hurricane. I hadn’t planned on taking off, but I was so glad I had those days off! I could barely walk or stand/sit those two days, and I think I would have had to take off if I didn’t have off already because just getting to the office would have been difficult. That said, I think when you take off of work because you are physically sore because of an athletic event you chose to participate in, it should be vacation, not sick leave.

          2. CheeryO

            Yeah, that’s pretty excessive, at least for a desk job. I run marathons (How do you know someone runs marathons? They’ll tell you!), and I would definitely prefer to hang out at home watching TV for three days following a race, but you have to just accept that you might be walking down stairs backwards for a few days. Moving around and getting back to normal life is better for recovery anyway.

            1. Amber Rose

              Oh yes. My choice of fun time activity had me unexpectedly do 160 squats one Sunday evening. It was three days until I could get up out of my chair without gasping, but honestly I was still able to work with some light painkillers. And I doubt I would have recovered as fast if I hadn’t, since sitting still is unhelpful for sore muscles.

            2. BananaPants

              I have several coworkers who are serious runners (like a half marathon is “fun” for them) and one who’s a triathelete and none of them take sick time following a race. Granted, we work in in office setting so it’s not difficult to take it easy, but three days of sick time seems excessive.

              1. Cath in Canada

                My friend and colleague is an Ironman triathlete (and has also represented Canada in the long-distance triathlon world championships – finished 8th in her age group earlier this month! w00t w00t!), and she needs 2-3 days off after an Ironman, but comes into work the day after “just” a marathon. I guess it all just depends on your fitness level. If I had to run a marathon I’d probably need a couple of weeks off, assuming I didn’t drop dead at the halfway point.

          3. Hlyssande

            If she knows she’s going to be out a few days after a marathon, she should schedule vacation for it. (if your vacation and sick are separate buckets that is)

            1. Not the Droid You are Looking For

              ^ This.

              I know after a half-marathon I’ll be sore, but manageable…so I plan a Monday that doesn’t require heels.

              But for my next race, I’m really pushing for a PR, so I went ahead and scheduled a day of vacation after.

          4. MicheleNYC

            I have a lot of friends/co-workers that run marathons and there is definitely no reason she can’t plan her PTO months in advance. I think my friends running NYC this year found out in March or April that they made the cut.

          5. baseballfan

            If she calls in sick for 3 days after a marathon, and gets 3 weeks a year, and that uses it all up, then she is presumably running ~5 marathons a year, which is a lot. Someone who is that into the sport shouldn’t need that much recovery time. And if she does, she should know and plan it in advance and take vacation.

            I have run 2 marathons and after one of them, I took a vacation day. After the second, I didn’t, but I was walking around awfully slow in the office.

            I agree that something like this which is caused by an activity the person chooses to participate in and which is known in advance, should fall under vacation time.

            1. Pipes32

              Agree. Either you do something a lot, so it shouldn’t effect you significantly enough to take that much PTO / sick time, or you do something sparingly so taking that time isn’t a big deal because it’s rare.

              I am probably biased as crazy endurance events are my thing, but I can’t see taking 3 days off after a marathon, unless you’re running as a once in a lifetime thing. The only time I took more than a day off PTO for any endurance event is when I did a 24 hour run from 8a Saturday – 8a Sunday. Then I took Friday and Monday off.

          6. GOG11

            I could understand for the first marathon or getting an unanticipated injury (you can get injured doing all types of things – from cleaning the gutters to running a marathon), or maybe if they ran harder/faster than they expected and did more damage than they could have anticipated. More than once or extenuating circumstances and the person should be able to plan ahead.

          7. Margaret

            Uh, no. If you need three days off (at least from a desk job) after running a marathon, you’re running the marathons wrong! (Or, training wrong.) Yes, you’ll be sore for at least a day or two, but not so much that you can’t leave your house! In fact, walking around and getting the muscles moving in a low impact way is a great way to help that soreness. Going to work and walking around for a few minutes every hour (hey, you can show off your medal to your colleagues that way) would be perfectly appropriate activity.

            And if someone was running five marathons a year and actually needing that much time for normal activity again, that’s probably from OVERtraining, not the marathon running itself.

          8. kozinskey

            Yeah, as a marathon runner I’m confused why you’d need 3 days of sick time per race. I definitely take it easy for a few days afterwards because I do feel sore / sickly, but I don’t see the need for more than one day off afterwards. Last year, I think I took a half day because I have plenty of vacation time and I wanted an afternoon nap, but I would have been fine without it. This year I’m getting on a plane a few hours after my race for a work conference the next day. I won’t exactly be hiking around the city that day, but there’s no reason I can’t sit still and learn things with intermittent walk breaks.

            Come to think of it, I wonder if your coworker is doing out-of-state races and is using sick time to sight see & travel….

          1. MicheleNYC

            When I used to rock climb on the weekends I would come in with bruises and cuts from sliding down the rock face instead of just letting myself fall. I was so beat up all the time!

      3. Allison

        Yup, I have at least one strenuous dance weekend a month, and I’ve definitely arranged to work from home the Monday after some of them in order to recover physically. But I generally avoid working from home on Mondays and Fridays because I know there are assholes who will think I’m just trying to score a long weekend, and since I’m still relatively young and experienced I can’t afford to have people making those assumptions about me.

        1. Ama

          Yeah, I definitely still suffer from some reluctance to call in sick right next to a weekend or holiday, thanks to a few coworkers at my old job who used to make snide comments about anyone who did so. I got mono during the winter holiday closure once and was terrified about taking a full extra week off — even though that was the sickest I’ve ever been in my entire life.

          I do think Monday absences can often feel a bit more noticeable than other days of the week only because a lot of people get to work Monday morning with an idea of what they want to accomplish that week — obviously most plans get pushed around during the course of a work week, but having it *immediately* fall apart because a key person is not present can be annoying, even if there’s ultimately no real harm done.

          1. Me

            When I was let go from my first post-college job the boss brought up that I was ‘always’ sick on Mondays and how that meant I was a big faker, etc. Except I *was* often sick on Mondays–started getting sick Fri., got worse over the weekend–and I went to the doctor and got notes and all but they never asked about it or mentioned it until it was time to fire me so I didn’t think I needed to turn them in. >:[

            Here, they eliminated ‘sick time’ altogether and made it all ‘personal’ so they don’t have to bother determining whether someone is ‘sick enuf’ to take a day. Which makes so much more sense. It’s not the boss’s business if I have strep throat or just can’t stand showing up today. If I have the days, I should be able to use them without someone nickel-and-diming me over it.

      4. Violet Rose

        Or even just sick from said physical hobby – I took up kayaking last year. After my first white water trip, learned what happens when someone whose immune system has never been exposed to dirty rivers, falls out of their kayak into dirty rivers seven times in two days. Then there was the white-water course with infamously bad water quality combined with some possibly undercooked bacon – half our group got sick after that, but I was the first.

        If it had happened after EVERY kayaking week-end, I would’ve started booking Mondays off, but it really was random, and, of course, I always hoped I wouldn’t get sick/never knew exactly when it would strike.

      5. Blurgle

        I did something similar because I had regular medical appointments on Wednesdays once a month and my manager was *very* much against evidence-based scientific medicine. If I’d told him why I was taking the morning off I would have been nagged and nagged and nagged about it (my condition is chronic but completely incurable, but he thought it was curable with the ‘right’ kind of quack medicine), so it was easier just to call in sick and say nothing.

    2. D

      Jeez – alcohol abuse issue? I think that’s a bit extreme. This person is just doing what everyone else wishes they could!

      I do however think the OP is right to have an issue with it. Why can’t this person just schedule Mondays off using vacation time? I do think it’s about the principle more than the actuality but I also don’t see what’s wrong with expecting the employee to abide by a ‘principle’. I mean, no one likes Monday mornings but it’s a part of life…to me, an employee that fakes sick every Monday is displaying some entitlement issues.

      1. LBK

        Yeah…alcohol abuse seems really strong to me. If drinking on a Sunday means you have a problem, pretty much my whole friend group needs rehab.

          1. LBK

            9am isn’t too early for a nice sweet rose, right? That’s practically just grape juice.

        1. Not Today Satan

          I like to drink, but there’s a difference between “drinking on a Sunday” and “drinking so much on Sunday that you’re incapable of going to work the next day.” Of course, we have no idea if that is the issue though.

      2. Afiendishingy

        Yeah, I admit to abusing generous sick leave policy at OldJob, sometimes on Mondays, but the most common trigger was that I was supposed to get there at 7:30am and I am naturally nocturnal. Anxiety also played a role, although of course I always felt horribly guilty about playing hooky so it was a bit of a vicious cycle. Anyway there is nothing in the original letter to suggest alcoholism. Occam’s razor suggests she is either frequently sick or likes 3 day weekends.

        1. Arjay

          Thank you for mentioning the anxiety issue. My anxiety is under pretty good control, but there are still the occasional days when it’s very difficult to drag myself out of bed and into the world. When they do happen, it’s often on a Monday. After a weekend off, it can be difficult to get the momentum back to deal with work again. Granted, if this employee is having these anxiety issues so frequently, they may need to work on that.

      3. Sadsack

        Entitlement issues, maybe, or the employee doesn’t like her job or is otherwise depressed. There are days when I wake up thinking, I don’t want to go! But I always do…

        Anyway, the reason could be anything and OP should just ask the employee about it, separate from her review.

      4. Obviously anon

        I have a family member who is an alcoholic, and who routinely calls in sick on Mondays. Like, he works maybe one Monday a month, and calls in the other three weeks.

        This may or may not be the case for the OP’s employee, but it is pretty typical behaviour for alcoholics, and it’s the first thing my mind went to when I read the letter.

        1. MicheleNYC

          +1 I thought the same thing. I have a close friend that is an alcoholic and when he was drinking he would not show up on Mondays a lot.

    3. Daisy

      I feel like if they were a partier they’d be more likely to call in on Fridays? There’s not usually much going on on Sunday nights, but Thursdays can be pretty lively, or you can head off somewhere on Friday.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian

        Yeah, it sounds to me like they just like an occasional mental health day, and attaching it to a weekend by calling out on Mondays is the most luxurious and enjoyable mental health day format. I’m a little envious.

        1. Afiendishingy

          I confess that I’ve been guilty of taking more than my fair share of mental health days at a previous job with very generous sick leave…

          1. Mallory Janis Ian

            I mainly accrue a bunch of sick leave (which served me well when my daughter’s appendix burst and I was off work for six weeks with sick leave to spare for follow-up appointments after I’d returned to work), but there was one year when I was struggling with having that gung-ho attitude, and I used up all my sick leave primarily on mental health call-out days. That year, I felt like I just couldn’t plod along at my job any longer unless I fortified myself with time off. Then, in the same job, I got out of my funk and returned to banking lots of leave in subsequent years.

            1. Elizabeth West

              I bank it and then take it in chunks. But we’re allowed to go negative for a certain amount, so if I run out, I can make it up later. Since I probably won’t be going anywhere for a while now, I may go ahead and take it in dribs and drabs.

            2. Mallory Janis Ian

              Looking back at that time in my life from a distance, I realize that it was an existential funk having to do with returning to the work force after a few years as an at-home parent. The year in which I maxed out my leave was a couple years into the job, but I spent the first two years on proving myself reliable and a good worker.

              I spent much of the third year feeling blah and not sure why, but I’d use my sick leave pretending to myself that I was living my old, stay-at-home lifestyle again. I would use those days to do the old routines that I’d do when I didn’t have anywhere pressing to be (a couple hours cleaning the house, then gallivant around town doing whatever I wanted to do for two to three hours, then home in the afternoon to watch, at the time, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Judge Judy). I indulged my wish that that was still my lifestyle and just lived in that space for awhile.

              After I got all the self-indulgence and lifestyle regret out of my system, I went back to being happy at my job. I just had to come to terms with the fact that that part of my life was over.

      2. LBK

        There’s plenty to do on Sunday nights around here, plus the ever-popular Sunday Funday which can still give you a pretty wicked hangover on Monday morning depending how hard you go.

    4. Rose

      Just a personal aside for how this looked for me–I have/had a chronic, serious illness (not yet diagnosed, unfortunately, but it’s either in remission or successfully treated by one of our many shots-in-the-dark treatments). I could usually push through a work week on adrenaline alone, but without fail, each weekend I would totally fall apart as a result. On the one hand, I was glad that my illness rarely manifested itself at work; on the other hand, I was too sick to ever really have a weekend, and I would frequently have to call out on Mondays so I could go to Urgent Care since I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink in four days and was breaking out in drug rashes from all my treatments. And this went on for two and a half years without even pausing, so I never was able to accrue more than 8-10 hours of PTO at a time.

      I know that’s not very likely to be this person’s case, because it seemed pretty baffling and not-normal in a lot of ways, but just another perspective. And on the plus side, I never take my health or my PTO for granted anymore.

      1. Aunt Vixen

        Mine was much less dire, but I had environmental allergies that I didn’t even suspect, much less have under control, for years. I used up all my leave on sick time and never got to take a vacation. Once I fell asleep in a meeting. They must have thought I was a prime slacker and party girl, but as you know, undiagnosed issues that mess with your sleep are not a laughing matter!

    5. Sam

      It’s important, especially as a manager, to not make assumptions. There are legitimate reasons for calling out sick regularly on Mondays – not just vacationing and drinking.

      And, please OP, don’t put this in a review until you’ve had a conversation about it with the employee first. “I’ve noticed a pattern here … what’s going on?”

      1. Liza

        ‘And, please OP, don’t put this in a review until you’ve had a conversation about it with the employee first. “I’ve noticed a pattern here … what’s going on?” ‘

        Yes! I have strong feelings about this because a very long time ago I was fired for regularly calling in sick on Sundays. I had undiagnosed gallstones and it seems like something I used to eat on Saturdays would set off an attack, so I spent most Sundays in extreme pain (with no idea why–it sucked). Not hung over!

    6. the gold digger

      their summer house (a la Hamptons house

      I have to know. Are there that many people with nine to five jobs who own vacation homes? It seems like a really rich person thing to me to own a second home. One is all we can manage.

        1. The IT Manager

          I know lots of people with camps on the lake or bayou. They’re not fancy and those people are not rich.

          House in Hamptons on the other hand …

          1. the gold digger

            I have just finished season 2 of “Revenge,” which has been my only education ever about the Hamptons – the place where people throw around checks for $250,000.

      1. the_scientist

        It could be a family vacation home or cottage. In Ontario, owning a cottage is still somewhat common for upper middle-class families (I feel like it’s getting less common as housing costs soar out of control, but that’s another conversation) but it’s usually the older generation that owns it, while the younger generation(s) still make regular use of it- and do a lot of the yard and maintenance work that the older generation can no longer handle. This is how my boyfriend’s family cottage works, and I have several friends with similar setups. It really only works if your family likes one another and enjoys each others’ company, though :)

      2. MicheleNYC

        Usually people go into at share for the summer in the Hamptons, Fire Island, or at the shore. A share can be anywhere from a few people to 20. That’s how a lot of people afford their summer house in NYC.

        1. Sunflower

          Yup exactly. I’ve rented a shore house with many of my friends for 5 summers now and we are by no means even close to wealthy.

        1. Laurel Gray

          One of my friends in the South rents a $500 a month large studio apt 10 minutes walking distance from her job in her city and a $1000 mortgage on a 4 bed 2.5 bathroom home a 90 minutes away she calls the “sanity house”. She said with utilities her living expenses are still under $2k total. In my city you do the Macarena after you sign your lease if you can find a one bedroom for $1500!

      3. Judy

        Well, around here in flyover country, it’s not terribly unusual to have a cabin or property with a trailer or a houseboat or a farm out in the wilderness for weekend use. Maybe 15% of people at work (engineering types) either have or have access to a family’s site. There are also several pretty large outdoor recreation areas within weekend driving distance of here. Several of my aunts and uncles used to have cabins by lakes within two hours drive of where they lived, and they were blue collar workers. Cabin by lake, with outhouse and no electricity.

        1. A Definite Beta Guy

          Yep, definitely feasible in Fly-Over land. To be fair, my parents are in the Chicago MSA (and thus not fly-over), but they are 9-5’rs who inherited a property in the Wisconsin Northwoods. Extra time on Monday would be GREAT to enjoy it: we’re talking about a 6 hour drive to enjoy a weekend getaway.

          1. EvaR

            I live in Wisconsin, near the northwoods, and would still consider people who own not one, but two places to live rather wealthy, 9-5 job or not. Then again, the area around the northwoods has a high poverty problem, which might be why rural property here is so cheap.

      4. Applesauced

        I don’t think of it as a “really rich person” thing, but for a comfortably middle class Baby Boomer family it’s not unheard of. Also, not all second homes are huge Hamptons mansions, some are very modest houses that get you away from the day to day.

      5. Jubilance

        Here in MN it seems like everyone has a cabin, either up north or in WI. And these are people with regular jobs, not rich by any means.

        1. LizB

          Yup. And if they don’t personally have a cabin, then their parents or grandparents or some other family member has one, and they rotate which part of the extended family gets to go up there every weekend throughout the summer. As someone who didn’t grow up here, it can be tricky to get friends together in the summer, because at least three people are “at the cabin” on any given weekend!

      6. JenB

        Maybe not really a “vacation house” but I know a lot of people with regular 9 to 5 jobs who have either a cabin or a small lake cottage. It is very popular in my Midwestern state to go “up north” for the weekend to stay at a cabin or cottage.

      7. steve g

        Not everyone with summer houses is rich lol. The hamptons wasn’t rich until the 80s so if you or someone in your family bought before then….and people in nyc also have places in PA or upstate NYC where the COL is low…

      8. attornaut

        For the Hamptons/NYC area beaches specifically, it’s pretty common to have a share or rented portion of a large house for the summer even for people who are not rich (but obviously upper middle class). Even as a student, I knew tons of people who would spend almost every weekend at Fire Island or similar, and it was a matter of paying for a house rental with 10+ other people who would cycle in and out throughout the summer.

      9. Connie-Lynne

        My mind is boggled! I’ve never known anyone with a second home who wasn’t wealthy. Like Gold Digger, for me it’s one of the hallmarks of richness.

      10. Sigrid

        Echoing the others to say that here in the Upper Midwest (Michigan), it’s really common among the middle-class to have a cabin “up north”. Most people live in the southern belt of the state, and the northern belt (and for us, the UP) is mostly forest, vacation cabins, and very low COL.

        As soon as hunting season opens, you’re guaranteed that a number of people you know will mysteriously vanish several days a week. For example, my dentist is only available Wednesdays and Thursdays during deer season, because he spends the rest of the time up north with his rifle.

      11. Hlyssande

        In MN, it’s extremely common to have a cabin ‘up North’. They can be luxurious or plain or even without running water and electricity, and often it belongs to the whole extended family rather than just one unit.

        My manager is at his cabin this week, finally putting in appliances (stove, fridge) for the first time ever.

        1. Chinook

          “They can be luxurious or plain or even without running water and electricity, and often it belongs to the whole extended family rather than just one unit.”

          I am glad that someone finally pointed out that often someone’s cabin or cottage may or may not have modern luxuries like running water and electricity (or even more than one room). It sounds so luxurious until you realize that visiting there is more about literally unplugging instead of going to stay in a fully functioning house.

          Then again, I grew spending summers in a trailer at a campground, so I consider anything without wheels luxurious for a summer place.

      12. Doreen

        Remember, a second home is not necessarily a second house. Most of the people I’ve known in NYC with weekend homes ended up with those homes because someone ( either the person or their parents) lived in a rent-controlled or stabilized apartment.

      13. cuppa

        I know a few people, definitely not upper class, that have property/trailers or other small cabins in recreation areas. It’s somewhat common around here. However, those that need extra time to utilize them generally request their time in advance and use vacation hours.

      14. Anonsie

        I’m reminded of the bit in American Psycho where they ask Patrick Bateman why he even has a job since his family is extremely wealthy, and he hisses “Because I want to fit in.”

    7. Case of the Mondays

      I”ll post another legit reason for calling out sick more often on Mondays. I have some food intolerances and allergies. During the week I always bring food to work and my husband cooks at home. Sometimes on the weekend, we are stuck eating out somewhere. Sometimes the restaurant screws up and I’m still sick come Monday.

      I also am much more active on the weekend and every injury I have had in the last 5 years occurred on a weekend usually resulting in a Monday doctor’s appointment.

      I’ve caught poison ivy over the weekend. I got sun poisoning over the weekend. Both Monday doctor’s appointments.

      1. Kai

        This!

        My husband is moderately disabled and frequently has trouble falling asleep. His sleep schedule used to get even more wacky over the weekend, and then he wouldn’t be able to sleep on Sunday night barely at all, so he would end up taking off about one Monday per month just to be properly rested.

      2. Sigrid

        Chiming in as a medical student who has spent the summer working midnight shifts in the ER — Mondays are absolutely the busiest days for doctors, especially in the emergency department and urgent care. People get sick or injured on the weekend, and don’t decide to (or can’t) see a doctor until Monday.

      3. TootsNYC

        There are lots of legit reasons.

        But I would bet that even if you’re relatively discreet, your manager would have an idea that you were genuinely sick, even if she didn’t know specifics.

        Our OP doesn’t seem to feel that she has a good sense about genuine illness /doctor’s appointments / etc.

    8. Beebs

      I have a whack of PTO (including sick/personal) left and our fiscal starts Sept 1. I am planning on taking a series of long weekends over the next 2 months, but haven’t planned exactly when and which days they will be, but there will be a lot of short weeks coming, and it will depend on my weekly workload.

      Also, a few years ago I was seeing a therapist every Friday late afternoon, it just happened to be the appointment slot I could get. I had the hours and flex time to leave work early, and it was no one’s business where I was going. But it certainly might seem like I was anxious to start the weekend early without any extra data points. If the time is there to be used, it shouldn’t matter what day/time or consistency of it, as long as it is not impacting the work.

      1. Artemesia

        But isn’t PTO different from sick leave most places (I know some companies combine them)? Taking vacation days on Mondays for 3 day weekends is fine (if approved) but I would think taking sick days when not sick would be an abuse of the system.

        1. Beebs

          We have vacation PTO and sick/personal PTO, we also collect lieu time when we work beyond our regular hours. Sick/personal does not require approval, and unless you are taking a huge block of time off, lieu time is used the same way. We just send a notice if we are not coming in “taking a personal day tomorrow” etc.

          Also, our sick/personal time is specifically designed so that it is not only for illness, so there is no system abuse, the time is there to be used when you need it, doesn’t matter why.

        2. Elizabeth West

          Ours is all the same–you get hours and you just take them for whatever. It’s all personal time. They don’t differentiate between sick and holiday.

      2. TootsNYC

        But for a regular appointment, wouldn’t you mention discreetly to your BOSS that you have an appointment regularly on Fridays?

        It’s the general sense of being taken advantage of that I think is a problem for the OP.

        And that’s why bringing it up might be a way for her to get just enough info to feel that it’s not a matter of the employee not respecting the job.

    9. Stranger than fiction

      #1, Yeah, I didn’t want to be the one to bring it up, but now that you opened that door, Steve, I will say I read somewhere not long ago that one of the signs of alcoholism is calling off work often on Friday or Monday. We have a couple of functional alcoholics here that do that, too. But, they too are good workers, when they’re here.

      #2 also angers me!! Grrrr! I think she should say something. As my mom always said, it doesn’t hurt to ask. She just needs to frame it in a way that she’s not bitter about the decision, but the horrible way it was handled. What a giant B that hiring manager is, I mean really, completely ignoring her?!

    10. Amy

      I think people jump really quickly to alcohol/partying being the source of Monday unplanned absence. Frankly, I think that says more about the person making the assumption than anything else. Many years ago, I moved into a new house, and slowly, over time, I was getting very sick over the weekends, and ending up in the ER with asthma attacks. It happened so gradually that I didn’t realize I was allergic/sensitive to chemicals in the house, and spending all weekend at home just made it build up so much that I was having asthma attacks. During the workweek, I was out so much, it didn’t affect me, but in the house for 48 hours was enough to put me over the edge. Again, it was gradual, and it wasn’t every weekend, because sometimes I’d be out of the house a lot, so it took time to put 2 and 2 together (Am I staying in because I feel sick? Or feeling sick because I’m staying in?) Meanwhile, I was calling in sick on Mondays a lot, and my boss called me out on it in front of the whole team. He was making an assumption that I was out partying (I had a young child at the time, nothing could have been further from the truth – besides, who is doing that on a Sunday? If you’re going to get wasted on a Sunday night, why not Tuesday night?) and thought he’d “caught” me by calling out how many Mondays I was out sick. Luckily I eventually found the root cause, got better asthma medication and moved, and voila! Problem solved.

  6. AnnieNonymous

    There’s a bit of context missing from #1, I think. How quickly does leave accumulate? Because at most workplaces, using PTO/sick leave one day at a time wouldn’t result in an inordinate number of days off. Is this person taking off, like, one Monday per month? A good number of people miss one workday per month without planning it or having their managers track it.

    The only issue I see is that this person is waiting until the last minute to “call out sick” instead of putting in for PTO the legit way. Does the company have a policy that requires pre-approved vacation time to be taken in week-long chunks?

    Aside from that one quibble, this letter reads like the dreaded “I’m annoyed that my employee is daring to use her perks.” She has the time available, so she’s using it. If she’s the only one at the company using it (hence why she’s standing out to you), that’s your problem, not hers.

    1. Sunshine

      Normally I would agree. But the part that sticks out to me is that this employee has only been there 6 months. That seems a bit soon to see a pattern like this. Of course the employee isn’t doing anything wrong, per se, but it would be a flag to me as a manager.

        1. mdv

          I think the OP was the one who had been there 6 months, while the employee ‘taking advantage’ of her accrued sick time the moment it is there has been there 5 years…

          Where I work (a state government job at a university), there is a nice payout if you have 800+ hours of sick time accrued when you leave… Amount paid out depends on years of service, and as I approach 18 years on the job, I already have enough to get paid out. But I am also almost never sick, and have no children. :)

          1. fposte

            Part of what’s hanging in the balance as they fight over our state pensions is whether we’ll get any credit for accrued sick or vacation days. I’ve got a ton, so I’d really like some credit.

    2. the_scientist

      I agree that there is some missing context here. It really depends on how PTO/sick leave is defined- is it one bucket or two separate ones, which is likely to impact how employees view and use the leave. If it’s just one bucket, well, those are PTO hours that employees are entitled to, and often it’s “use it or lose it”, so it can make sense in this scenario to use it. If the vacation allowance isn’t particularly generous or there are a lot of restrictions, but sick leave is generous and easier to use, it also makes sense to use it as much as possible. Is it short-sighted to not have any banked sick leave? Yeah, probably. But I accrue like 15 sick days per year in addition to generous vacation time. That might not be a lot for someone with a chronic illness or young children, but at this point in my life I don’t see myself using even half of that sick time. I’m okay “leaving it on the table” so to speak, because my company is generous with vacation, but when this isn’t the case it makes sense that employees would take advantage of generous sick leave to fill that gap. And also it depends on the frequency of last-minute absences. Once a month is really not a big deal (IMO).

  7. Mike C.

    Re: #2

    Why is this situation being treated as though it’s just no big deal and not worth pursuing in any way?

    First off, how does going to the boss’s boss look bad on the employee? The OP applied for the job, was interviewed for the job, was told that they got the job, was introduced to everyone as the person who received the job, performed the work of the job and then is dropped out of thin air? The idea that “ you were fine with it when you thought it was to your benefit, but object now that it’s not” makes no sense to me because employment is a mutually beneficial agreement, is it not? Everyone is fine when their paychecks cash or their insurance card is accepted but if those suddenly stop working then there are problems, are there not? And yes, the sensitive data is also an issue – noncompliance on that sort of thing should be reported immediately!

    Secondly, even if we forget about the boss’s boss, is there no one else? Isn’t this something that HR could shed some light on? I certainly think they would be interested in hearing about a manager that tells people they are promoted, has them start work, and then reopens their job position from under them and sends them back? Not only does this sort of thing really screw up morale, it also screws up headcount and other budgeting issues. It likely goes against any established hiring policies as well! What would have happened if the particular department the OP came from was under a hiring freeze and they weren’t backfilling? Would the OP be out of a job?

    I’m really surprised at this response.

    As an aside to the OP directly, why in the heck do you feel guilty or in any way partially responsible for this? You followed the standard process for the job, you got the job, you followed the directions of your new boss – this is incredibly common with regards to internal promotions. Of course you weren’t forced to do it, you believed by any reasonable standard of business that you had received a promotion and you had a new boss to listen to and it’s perfectly acceptable of you to expect the rewards that come with. That’s the whole point of pursuing a promotion!

    1. TootsNYC

      The “you were fine with it when it benefitted it” is referring to the complain about the presumptive boss sharing sensitive information.

      THAT is what the OP shouldn’t complain about.

      But saying to HR, “Listen, that really stunk! To be essentially told I had the job, to be introduced as the person who had the job, to be given actual tasks to do as if I had the job–and then be told I wasn’t getting it–that really stunk. Don’t let people do that. If you’re going to keep interviewing outside the company, don’t say anything to the internal candidates except maybe, ‘You’re still in the running, but we’re going to open it up to the outside.’ ”

      I think that’s fair feedback to give. Just be sure to give it as feedback.

      And yeah, that really does stink! Big sympathies to the OP.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Like TootsNYC pointed out, “you were fine with it when it benefitted you” is referring to the complaint about the manager sharing sensitive information. (And my next sentence was “that’s not an accurate take on it.”)

      1. Mike C.

        The OP was fine with it because she thought she was entitled to the information as a function of her job. I don’t think it’s the worst thing that’s happened here (unless we’re talking some serious stuff here), but it’s still not good and would put many types of certifications into question during an audit.

        1. TootsNYC

          I was thinking, “What does it matter? You are an employee of the company, so you ought to be trustworthy,” but I was forgetting about things like audits, etc., and certifications, and other external restrictions/regulations.

          But I still think that the access to information is not the core of the problem, and it should only be mentioned as part of the general, “that was a crappy way to treat me, just giving you feedback so it doesn’t happen to someone else” feedback.
          Maybe “Because I was given access to this sensitive information, I truly assumed that the decision was final–why else would I have been working on things that are linked to our certification?”
          If it’s a problem, let the HR folks draw that connection.

    3. MattRest

      I have to admit that I don’t agree with Alison on this one (very unusual for me). I think this situation should be raised with HR and the hiring manager’s manager.

      While gaining access to sensitive information is beside the point for me, I don’t see how sensitive information could benefit the employee in any way. Utilizing sensitive information for your own advancement is frowned upon (at least where I work), and is grounds for losing access to that info. If this was truly sensitive data like personally identifiable information (PII), giving her access without the position would constitute a security threat.

      The bigger problem for me is that the hiring manager was allowed to treat an internal candidate this way. Was there a raise in the offing? IANAL, but I wonder if the company is now liable for a lawsuit. The offer was extended verbally and was executed in practice.

      1. UKAnon

        I don’t *think* there’s any chance of legal action (IANAEL) but it’s certainly a poor way to treat internal candidates and it potentially leaves OP with real problems. What if their manager now wants to get rid of them or thinks they aren’t committed to the job? What happens about all of the work OP has missed? How are OP’s team going to react to their return?

        I think this is something to raise – if not with the manager’s manager directly than with HR in a general “I think we need to clarify our hiring practices” sense, because this could cause people huge problems quite unnecessarily.

        (Even if not this time for OP, it may still be problematic in the future)

      2. Elizabeth West

        You know what bugged me about it? That the OP did all that work for the manager. It’s like she used her to fill in the gap while they were looking to hire someone else. And blew smoke up her skirt the entire time, just to get the work done.

        Maybe the manager needed someone to help the department stay caught up while they were looking to fill the role; I’m not sure. I’m not a hiring manager, but I don’t think you should look to candidates to do that. Spread some of the work around a little. But giving her work before she even had the job? Nope. She totally used the OP. I want to smack her now. Seriously!

        1. BananaPants

          I agree. OP was used and then dropped once the hiring manager got the preferred external candidate.

        2. Stranger than fiction

          Right and not only that, even the coworkers in the new department thought she had the job so she has witnesses and that horrible B of a mange cant just blow it off like the Op misunderstood

      3. Annonymouse

        That’s what Alison was saying:

        1) Your focus shouldn’t be on the sensitive information complaint (because that makes you look bad)

        2) Don’t bitch/complain about the situation (because that makes you look bad)

        Instead talk to your manager and frame it as asking for advice – this way you still get to bring up your concerns but come across as professional and concerned instead of bitter and put out.

        Is it worth going to HR over? Maybe. Again I’d go with seeking clarification about the situation:

        “Am I able to get an idea of how we fill positions including promotions and department changes in our company?

        The reason I ask is because of a situation I was in: Janes department advertised a job and Jane told me I had it, introduced me to people as new X and had me do X work but then went with an external candidate and hasn’t had any contact with me since. Is that normal for us? Or should I do something different next time an opportunity like that comes up?

        Also I wanted to ask what’s the best way to handle the members on her team asking if I quit and why?”

        This way you aren’t complaining but you are still informing them that this happened and is Not Okay.

    4. Juli G.

      I agree with you – she was introduced to others as the new role holder. If I was your HR person, that’s what I want to know.

      Yes, the role of HR can be “protecting the company”. But protecting the company should include retaining employees and supporting a good morale. This is terrible for that and the manager needs to at least be coached on how this situation was handled.

      1. RVA Cat

        Agreed – it’s a huge morale issue not only for the OP, but the team she was introduced to.

        This is the sort of thing that not only leads to good people leaving, but can cause ongoing turf wars between managers and departments.

        1. Stranger than fiction

          Yes even if ultimately HR protects the manager at least the Op has her grievance documented and the more grievances that get documented against this manager the better so maybe eventually she will be dealt with

      2. NJ Anon

        “But protecting the company should include retaining employees and supporting a good morale. ” Unfortunateley, my experience had been that HR does not care about retaining employees or supporting a good morale. They protect the employer and if that happens to benefit the employee then it’s a bonus.

        1. Mike C.

          If we’re talking about a larger organization, it’s going to be in the company’s interest to not have a manager that is screwing around with headcount in the way this manager is.

  8. Turanga Leela

    I’m sympathetic to the person who calls in sick on Mondays. This used to happen to me. A few times, I got sick near the end of the work week, figured I could rest and get better over the weekend, and realized on Monday that I either needed to go to the doctor or get an additional day of sleep. Once or twice, I was traveling on Sunday and legitimately couldn’t make it back (e.g. because of a blizzard).

    My boss was very attuned to Monday sick days, so she told me she had noticed a pattern and didn’t want me calling in on Mondays anymore. I couldn’t do anything about the traveling stuff, but if I felt sick on Monday, I started coming to work regardless and taking Tuesday off if I needed to. My boss seemed fine with that.

    1. NutellaNutterson

      There’s a wonderful Dilbert in which the Pointy Haired Boss indignantly “catches” his staff taking 40% of their sick days on Mondays and Fridays…

    2. Meg Murry

      I did this is high school. I was involved in a club that often had overnights, and it would throw my sleep schedule out whack and leave me severely sleep deprived. But my mother threatened not to let me go to the overnights if I was going to be sick on Monday. So I’d drag myself to school Monday, then come home and go straight to bed without finishing my homework, and moan about being sick on Tuesday – so I could catch up on homework and sleep. I was a good student and school came easily to me, so my mom usually let it slide and called me in sick, even though she knew I was just using a loophole in her rule. I missed quite a few Tuesdays.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        Completely off-topic, but my eyes inadvertently joined the above “I love that strip” with “I was involved in a club” and I suddenly got VERY curious about your high school extra-curricular activities! *ahem* Carry on.

    3. Violet Rose

      This happened to me once after a three-day weekend: I started coughing on Thursday/Friday, hoped it would go away on its own, but didn’t get as much sleep as I’d hoped (this was partially my own fault: I’d been drinking in the afternoon on Saturday, and while I was nowhere near hangover-level, I’d forgotten that alcohol will often wake me up in the middle of the night; that really screwed me up for the rest of the weekend). On Tuesday morning I was prooooobably fit enough to work, but I also work in an open-plan office and didn’t want to be coughing/sneezing on everyone all day.

    4. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

      But we’re you calling in sick due to travel delays? Or did you have a bucket of PRO for both vacation and sick?

    5. Not Today Satan

      Years ago I was late two Fridays in a row–first, because my toilet literally exploded and flooded my entire apartment (really), and second, because the night before I caught a peeping tom who had climbed up onto my windowsill. It freaked me out and I didn’t sleep till like 5am. My boss gave my crap about it unfortunately.

    6. JC

      I don’t call in sick often, but now that I think of it, all of the times I have at my current job happened to be on Mondays. One time was after I had taken Thursday and Friday off to visit a friend in another city. While I was visiting her, a sinus infection I was battling got worse and moved into my lungs, and by the time I got home on Sunday night I had full-blown bronchitis and a high fever. I knew it must have looked bad to be on vacation Thursday and Friday, and then be sick Monday and Tuesday. Luckily I am a good enough performer that my boss was not suspicious :).

      1. mdv

        Totally feel this one!

        When my grandmother died (in Germany, I live in Kansas), we had enough advance warning that it was imminent that I could arrange to take more than just the 6 days’ funeral leave off work, and I actually went for 2 1/2 weeks (but did not depart until we knew she had passed away).

        My best friend waited until the day I was flying home, after she knew I was in the air, actually, to send me a note letting me know she was in town because her father had passed away while I was gone, and the funeral would be Wednesday (that was Monday).

        So, what happens on Tuesday? I had jet lag, but I felt MUCH worse than that, so I ended up going to the doctor. Who sent me to the ER. Who sent me home, although they decided it was just overwhelming stress combined with the jet lag, but they were worried about a pulmonary embolism. So a sick day after 17 days off? YES, I had to bring a note to work to get that day off as sick time. Totally understandable!

        But, my boss did let me take Wednesday afternoon off for the best friend’s dad’s funeral and stuff. THAT WAS A CRAZY WEEK.

  9. Jader

    #2- This happened to my husband, but they strung him along for 9 months and then promoted someone else internally who didn’t want the job (who has since run the program into the ground). They announced the promotion of the other person to the whole company via email while he was away on vacation. He’s been trying to leave ever since but is very picky in what he applies to and hasn’t been able to leave yet. I can’t even look his boss in the eye anymore he disgusts me so much.

  10. TootsNYC

    Yeah, don’t put “observations” into someone’s review for the next manager.

    Because the next manager will assume it’s a serious problem.

    That happened to me once–something that was presented to me as minor, and that I really thought was an “I have to have SOME sort of ‘thing to improve on’ for her” type of issue. And then my boss left, and the new person was immediately all over me about this, speaking sternly, etc., and she hadn’t even been there to observe it for anything but 2 weeks.
    She took it as a serious problem precisely because it was in my review.

    I would say that this does bother you more than you think–and that you should think about whether this actually is serious enough to ask him to change. It would bother me, to be honest. The consistency of it would make me feel “gamed,” and would make me question his commitment to the job. So I’d rather have it out.
    (I’ll also say–I had a boss who was always injuring herself on Monday mornings, and my father said he thought she was an alcoholic, that she had withdrawal symptoms that were making her shaky in the morning. I don’t know–I wasn’t able to gauge anything like that. But I might wonder about whether Mondays were particularly hung-over days for him, or some other thing. Of course maybe he’s just run down from staying up later, or something.)

    (My experience is that I always get sick late Saturday–when you can’t easily just go to the doctor the next day.)

    1. The Other Dawn

      I agree. While her words say one thing, the tone implies something different. I got the impression that she’s really not OK with this person calling out on Mondays all the time. I think she’s trying to be OK with it, because it’s one of those things where you want employees to take sick time if they need it, you don’t really know if the employee is sick or not, and you don’t want to harass her about it if she really is sick or has something going on she wants to keep private; it’s a fine line.

  11. Seal

    #2 – Something similar happened to me at a previous job. My supervisor managed to get promoted and moved to another department. He left a lot of messes to clean up, including a major RFP with a hard deadline. I was asked by our department head to finish up the RFP and put in a lot of time and effort into the project. Based on how well I did with all those extra responsibilities, everyone expected that I would take over my former supervisor’s job. Much to everyone’s surprise, once the RFP project was done, the department head promoted someone else. Even better, she didn’t tell me in person; instead, she left me a voicemail. I quit on the spot and blasted the department head in my letter of resignation – all the things AAM says you shouldn’t do. In the long run, it didn’t hurt my career at all, although I certainly don’t recommend others go that route. Within a year a got a better job with the same organization but in a different department. It seems that word got out about what happened to me and the department head had lost quite a bit of face over it. Interestingly, whenever I ran into that woman once I started my new job she would never make eye contact with me and all but run away, something I always found strangely gratifying.

    1. Lily in NYC

      That must have been so infuriating, but I do like that the manager had to have awkward moments every time she saw you.

    2. Stranger than fiction

      Well hooray this had a happy ending in that there was a consequence for that manager. So often that’s not the case

  12. Meg Murry

    For #1 – does the person only use up all her sick time, or does she drain all her PTO including vacation days? Most place I’ve worked only give 5 or so sick days a year, so if that means calling out on a Monday every other month, that’s not such a big deal. If the sick leave is more generous, or it’s sick and vacation time so it’s every 2 to 3 weeks or more – I could see that being a more concerning pattern.

    I am a firm believer in having anything in a review be a surprise, so I think this should be brought up in a separate conversation from the review if it really isn’t impacting the work (having to shift her tasks to others, etc). At a minimum, if employee is draining all her leave, you should probably sit down with her and tell her you are concerned that she has zero buffer for getting the flu or some other multi-day illness. It might also be worth pointing out the FMLA policy, mentioning that if she is taking the days to take care of a serious health condition (hers or a family member’s) it would be a good idea to have the FMLA paperwork filled out, even if she is only going to continue to use her paid leave and not dip into unpaid – she may not be aware that FMLA can be taken intermittently, and that the definition of “serious health condition” is something that has either required an inpatient hospital stay, or ongoing medical treatment – for instance, a person who sees a doctor 3x a year for diabetes could qualify if the doctor will sign off. It’s not OPs place to pry into the employees medical issues – only to let them know that FMLA options exist, and the employee should talk to HR sooner rather than later if it appears that it might be FMLA relevant.

    Also, if OP really doesn’t mind if the employee is off on some Mondays, she could also ask the employee to give her notice when the employee knows in advance she is taking Monday off (or is considering it) so they don’t have to go through the whole call off dance.

    Last, I’m wondering if this is a situation like the letter a little while ago where the person always called off on Fridays when he didn’t have the gas money. I could see a sitiation where someone is paid Friday, but the check doesn’t actually clear until Monday during business hours. Any chance there is an extenuating circumstance like that?

    1. Allison

      Vacation days often need prior approval, whereas sick days don’t. Some companies also give people “personal days” that can be used at the last minute for reasons other than illness, but those are usually limited as well.

    2. Alma

      No one has mentioned other reasons the person in #1 might be regularly taking Monday “leave” – their partner may have Sunday and Monday off. Their child may be homeschooled, and it is an opportunity to have input into that experience, perhaps. They may need to work weekends – or a renovating a home – or had their weekend with the kids and needs a breather after a non-stop weekend and driving them to the other parents’ late Sunday. Or the caregiver examples given way up the thread.

      I would appreciate being more in control of my work/life balance. Since LR #1 is new to the company, have they observed if this is done in other departments? Is it a flex-time conversation long overdue?

  13. Cambridge Comma

    #1, if the employee is always willing to stay late and put in extra work, perhaps she is getting to the point that she really does need the Mondays once in a while. Perhaps you could talk to her about it — it seems crazy to have to pretend that she is sick and have unplanned unprepared absences when you both know it’s going to happen.
    Maybe a later start on a Monday if she has put in extra hours the week before would help, or a work from home day once a fortnight or once a month.
    The problem I see with her never having any spare sick days is if she really comes down with something like the flu and can’t come in for a week.

  14. Duncan - Vetter

    #5 Getting a new job is like opening presents on Christmas day, you tend to be overexcited. However, it is never a good idea to offer presents to the HR person because this can lead to various misunderstandings. You can write her a polite email, or thank her personally for the opportunity. Furthermore, you can do your best at the new job and prove you can handle the tasks in an effective manner, and this will show her that she did well choosing you.

    1. blackcat

      Yeah, I see absolutely nothing wrong with an appreciative email. “Your help with my transition was invaluable…..” something like that. That might be appreciated much more than some sort of gift–she can send an email like that to her supervisor to document how happy employees are with her work.

      1. Jaydee

        I agree. A gift – especially $50 – is way too much and inappropriate. Maybe I’m biased in favor of the thank you note/email, but the work I do is stressful and it’s easy to focus on the bad days and the people who complain. But I keep a folder in my desk with the handful of thank you notes I’ve received, and just knowing they are there reminds me that what I do makes a difference to someone at least sometimes. Some of them aren’t even for the big things, but just things that I think of as a pretty routine part of doing my job.

        My very rambling point is that if this HR person really made the hiring process go smoothly and was wonderfully helpful to you, pick up a nice thank you card or send her an email and tell her about whatever it was that she did that made the process better than usual and how her positive attitude really helped you feel like this would be a great place to work. That’s the stuff that will get her through the day when an applicant calls and spends 20 minutes grilling her on why they weren’t hired or when she spends her afternoon investigating allegations that Wakeen in marketing made a pass at Jane from accounting during the holiday party.

        1. Stranger than fiction

          Even better, cc her boss on the thank you email! Thats the gift of praise and may help her next review or raise

    2. Artemesia

      And even if one did give a gift, a gift card is money so you are more obviously paying a bribe for the job than if it were a potted plant or box of chocolates. (not that either of those would be appropriate in this case.)

  15. mathilde

    There is one thing I do not understand about #1:

    Quote:
    “If this person started calling in sick without time accrued, that would be a problem for me and I would be sure to sit the person down and let them know that behavior needs to change.”

    Maybe here in Germany we are in some kind of paradise when it comes to sick leave: here, if someone is sick, he/she *is* sick. You cannot decide whether you break your leg or have fever depending on how much time one has accrued or not. If it happens, you can’t do anything about it. Coming in with fever or a broken leg is not an option, isn’t it?
    So I do not understand why a manager would “sit someone down” for something like this?
    How can someone change the fact that he/she catches a cold or breaks a leg?

    1. hbc

      I’m in the US, and it doesn’t make sense to me either. I suppose if all of your planning is done with the expectation that you have X number of employees working Y number of days each (Y being the total number of workdays in a year minus their sick leave and vacation time), you’re not going to get enough done if someone is out Y+5. But if the employee is generally working extra hours, it’s actually a *benefit* to the company to have an employee work 80 hours over two weeks but not get paid for one of those days because they have no leave saved up.

      Maybe the OP’s company has a strict policy on not giving Leave Without Pay? That the employee will get an illness and not be able to afford being out for a week without pay? That people who are less diligent will follow the example and start treating sick leave as no-notice vacation?

    2. Ani

      The offices I’ve worked at in the United States have all given employees different kinds of paid leave, including paid federal holidays, paid vacation days, and paid sick days. When I was young an HR person introducing a group of new hires to the organization explained the importance of accruing sick time (which can be carried over for years) instead of using those days basically as vacation time: People can and do get sick years down the line or are hospitalized and need 3 months of paid sick time, or, it’s always wise to have at least 2 weeks of sick time banked to use should there be a funeral in your family. A coworker who started less than 2 years ago already has 120 hours of sick time banked; it accumulates pretty fast. But US employers who do provide sick time expect you to budget it as longterm sick time instead of using it as vacation time.

      The problem might be that the employer offers little or no paid vacation time, and the employee needs a break. Also, it tends to be better for everyone if the employee can schedule a day off with some notice.

      1. Recent Grad

        My employer gives 3 sick days a year but caps accrual at 5 days. It’s pretty tempting to take a mental health day when you’re near the cap

      2. Hlyssande

        Our sick time is a ‘use it or lose it’ deal, but we also have accruing vacation that does roll over.

      3. Rock

        …. How much sick time to you guys GET?
        I get 5 days a year, and it carries over to a maximum of 10 days accruement. Banking it is very difficult, what with actual illness, and the need to take bits of the day off here and there for appointments.

        1. Cath in Canada

          10 days a year, and there’s no cap on how much you can accrue. I typically only need to take 2-3 days in an average year, so I have weeks worth saved up. I know several people who’ve needed all their accrued days for things like surgery, or chemo treatments, so unless they suddenly start capping us I have no intention of taking any more days off sick than I need, just in case!

          (I work for a healthcare organisation, but have no patient contact myself. But we get the same benefits as the clinical staff, and I think we have particularly generous sick leave, even for Canada, because they really, really don’t want people coming in sick).

    3. doreen

      The OP doesn’t seem to believe the employee is actually sick. I get the feeling that this employee is similar to someone I used to supervise , who knew exactly at which point in the pay period she earned her sick day and made sure to take it before the end of the pay period. And only that day – she was never sick for two or three or five days.She just took that sick day every four weeks with no prior notice whether she was sick or not and whether there was anyone to cover for her or not.
      It had nothing to do with limited leave – she had at least 20 days vacations each year, 12 holidays and earned 13 sick days per year which can accrue up to 200 days .

    4. Sunshine Brite

      I have definitely had to work with a fever. I’ve also been chewed out for not following the fairly informal how-to-find shift coverage policy when I was flu-like and so out of it I probably should’ve gone to the hospital because I couldn’t see straight and wasn’t really making coherent sentences. That last example is when I worked with a customer facing position with food. My last job you got a few days of sick time and no vacation for the first year but it was discouraged to take because the manager came in with everything under the sun… even though we worked with people with health problems who were more likely to catch things. I don’t understand it either.

    5. ExceptionToTheRule

      In terms of sick leave & vacation time, yes, you live in a paradise that most US workers are unfamiliar with. =)

      1. MashaKasha

        Yeah but don’t they have to bring in a doctor’s note anytime they call in sick? In my home country (Eastern Europe) we had a doctor’s office right on our territory where I worked, and you couldn’t go home sick unless you had a note from that doctor. The one time I came down with a very bad cold, I was running a fever and lost my voice and couldn’t speak… I went to that doctor, she stuck her own thermometer under my armpit for a couple seconds and then told me that my temperature was normal and to go back to work. Don’t know how things work in Western Europe. But at least here, we have a honor system. I only have three sick days per year, but if I say I’m sick, my manager assumes I’m sick and does not demand proof.

        1. Ad Astra

          A doctor’s note every time you call in sick? At least Europe’s socialized medicine would offset the cost of that, but what an inconvenience!

        2. De (Germany)

          Usually, it’s after three days that you need one. I think it’s a fair trade off, and doctors are used to it.

          Besides, after six weeks health insurance takes over your wages, so they kind of also need to be kept in the loop.

          1. MashaKasha

            Oh I see. That’s better. We here in the US need one after four (or five?) days in a row too, I believe – some other kind of sick leave kicks in at that point. But one would have to be pretty darn ill to be out sick five days in a row, so it makes sense.

    6. Lily in NYC

      There’s a reason the term “Monday flu” exists. Where I work, there was a huge problem with our mailroom staff calling out sick on Mondays – there were many days when only one out of 6 will show up. It’s much more common in football season when there are sunday games. They weren’t actually sick; they were just using sick time to take a day off because they didn’t want to use vacation time – because we get our vacation time paid back to us when we leave so everyone wants to keep as much as possible. Our employee manual actually mentions it and says we will be disciplined and require to provide doctor’s notes if we call in sick too often on Friday/Mondays.

      1. steve g

        When I got strept throat in Czech rep my job instantly gave me ten days off. In the usa people take like one or two days off from work. It’s nuts! The boss had to force a former coworker with it not to come in because they were contagious!

        1. KJR

          That is amazing! We have 5 sick/personal days combined for the YEAR. And that’s after I talked them up from 3 days!! It’s ridiculous. Luckily there is no accrual, so we have access to all five days at the start of the new year. But, it’s also a “use it or lose it” policy.

    7. Cordelia Naismith

      At the university I work for, if someone is sick and has run out of sick leave, they can put in a request with HR for donated leave. HR sends the request out to the department letting people know that someone has requested a leave donation. If you have accrued extra leave, you can choose to donate it to them.

      My father recently retired from the same university and had accrued a lot of sick leave over the years that he had never taken. There was a leave request a few weeks before he retired, and he was able to donate a lot of his leave to the person.

      1. MicheleNYC

        I know of a few companies that have a donation policy for employees that are dealing with a long term illness such as cancer or other issue.

      2. KJR

        How does this work pay-wise? I’m assuming the person taking the leave gets their normal rate of pay…what if they make substantially more than the person donating the time?

        1. Doreen

          At my job , we donate hours and pay rate doesn’t come into it – whether I donate to someone who makes half my salary or someone who makes double , they get their regular rate. Just like I will get my current rate for sick leave , even though I earned some of it nearly 20 years ago at a much lower pay rate

        2. MicheleNYC

          It has nothing to do with rate of pay. PTO is accumulated at these companies based on years of service.

          1. KJR

            Well you have to pay them something, so it does relate to pay. Doreen answered my question though, thank you.

      3. Ad Astra

        I love the idea of donated leave and wish more companies would allow it. I bet three’s at least some business case for it, considering what it could do for morale and what it says about company culture.

        1. cuppa

          Yeah we have a leave share program and it is great. I had someone who used up their PTO when they had cancer and then they had a recurrence a year later. So nice that they didn’t have to worry about losing pay during chemo treatments.

        2. fposte

          We have a leave pool, but you can’t target donations–if you need it, you have to have donated to it, and then you apply for eligibility. I donated because I never use all my time anyway and this way I could apply if I ever needed it.

          1. MicheleNYC

            I know one company on the west coast you can donate directly to a specific employee or just add it to the donate bank. You can make that choice when you donate.

      4. mdv

        Same at my university! Except, my dad was the one who benefited from the shared leave — in 5 years he had two work-related shoulder injuries with almost a year each on work comp, two kinds of cancer, and heart problems, so he basically worked around 18 months in the last 5 years of his time here.

    8. LQ

      It sounds like this person in #1 does get vacation time, and maybe accumulates them at something a little more than 1/month? But in the US there are times where yes do come in with a fever or a broken leg. You find a way to get yourself up and in to your job or you do not have your job anymore and that’s perfectly “reasonable” to employers. Not that all employer do this but yes, it absolutely happens.

      Depending on the employer if you are sick beyond your sick days (or you don’t have any) sometimes you can take an unpaid day, sometimes you get fired.

      1. Jennifer

        Yes, most of us cannot afford to be out sick when we are sick, period.

        I will only take a sick day if (a) I literally can’t stay sitting up, (b) I can’t physically type, (c) I can’t get away from the toilet for longer than 5 minutes. If I just have a cold and a stuffy nose and a sore throat–forget it, you go to work, you can still type, can’t you? And I have generous sick leave I can take, but I’d be causing all sorts of trouble for being out sick on an important meeting day* or if I have to serve the public. I only take a sick day if I’m really badly off AND I’m not missing anything crucial.

        * One day I tripped and fell on the sidewalk on the way to work and was gashed and bleeding, but I STILL had to sit through that damned meeting.

        Most people have it even worse than that–retail workers and the like will get canned for calling out, so you’d better not ever do it.

        1. A Definite Beta Guy

          Yep. Last sick day I took was Dec 2011. I woke up at 2 in the morning, parked myself in front of the toilet, stayed until 2 in the afternoon. Bye bye 15 pounds!

        2. Someone Else

          Do you work near others? If someone came to my office with anything contagious, and this includes a cold, they would be sent home right away to keep from getting others sick, as well as their own benefit for recovery. There is always someowne that can cover for them if needed. This includes employees with no available sick time for pay. Mainly b/c my company looks at the bigger picture, if one employee that believes they cannot afford, whether it be an income based decision, or the I’m too needed at work to miss a day decision, they are still sent home to keep from infecting many others who would then need to miss work. Our company takes the responsibilty to protect the other employees from illness, especially pregnant employees, employees with infants or eldery parents they are caring for, or spouses or family members with illnesses that make them immuno-compromised.

    9. Ad Astra

      As people have noted, Germany and many other European countries have more worker-friendly laws about paid leave.

      For Americans, deciding whether to come in with a broken leg or a fever involves a bit of cost/benefit analysis. If I feel sick and I have lots of sick time available, I’m calling in. If I feel sick and I have a little sick time available, I’m going to base my decision on how sick (or how contagious) I am — for me, that threshold is usually the horrible body aches I get with many of my colds. Even when I’m miserably sick, I tend not to get a fever, but that might just be me. If I feel sick and I have no sick time available, I will almost definitely come in to work — unless I physically can’t.

      So, you can’t always control when you’re sick, but most of us would have to be extremely sick to call out once we run out of sick days.

      The manager, I assume, suspects that at least some of these Monday sick days are not legitimate. That’s the only reason I can think of that it might be worth sitting down with a high-performing employee, and even then, eh…

    10. Anonsie

      Aside from what everyone else has already said, the US has a very very very different culture on this than anywhere in Europe (that I’m aware of). If you are sick with any kind of frequency it’s usually considered a disciplinary issue here, even if you can prove you are ill or have an ongoing illness or injury. A lot of people I know whose health requires them to stay home frequently have just had to stop working altogether because you can’t get accommodation for this, generally speaking.

      Americans are rather hostile towards ongoing illness in general and a lot of us with health problems hide it from our employers and friends because of it.

  16. TeaGirl

    #1 – This reminds me of my first professional job, where I was allowed 10 sick days per year. Guess how many sick days I took per year. ;) In my opinion, this behavior is inevitable when you have a system that limits sick leave, either by setting a max number of days or by making employees earn the leave. That is, you’ll always have a few people who treat sick time like vacation time. I agree with Alison; if you *really* don’t have a problem with the employee taking their sick time as they choose, then it isn’t fair to hold it against the employee when they do just that.

    1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec

      This is why we let people accumulate sick leave forever. It keeps them from trying to use it up every year. I just had a long time employee take 12 weeks of paid sick leave when she had a baby (plus 12 more weeks unpaid) which was awesome. I had another employee take 6 paid weeks to take care of a dying parent. Other people see that stuff and are motivated to not use all their sick time, just in case. We give lots in case, well, in case you actually need it, but not as extra vacation time.

      1. Lily in NYC

        One of my first jobs used to let us roll over sick leave and then paid it out to us with our vacation time when we left. My boss got over a year’s salary paid out! I was so bummed that they stopped doing it after I had been there for a month.

        1. NJ Anon

          My Oldjob let us accrue up to 30 sick days and paid them out with accrued vacation when we left. It was a nice chunk of change!

      2. BetsyTacy

        Oof. My job allows us to accumulate unlimited sick time, and we get 8 days/year of sick time. Unfortunately, when you have a baby, you are limited in the number of sick time that you are able to use, capped at 6-8 weeks.

        If you think sick leave sounds terrible in the US, wait until you hear about our (total lack of) maternity leave! I work for a government employer and we basically get to use our sick time, vacation time, and then take unpaid leave. And that’s it.

      3. Artemesia

        I was working in a university nearly 40 years ago when I had my last baby. As a teacher I got NO sick leave. You could cancel a class from time to time if you were sick so that was sort of sick leave, but to have the baby, I had to either find someone to cover my classes or pay someone to cover my classes. There was zero maternity leave even for the period when it was physically necessary or usually counted as sick leave most places. I actually timed the expected birth for just after graduation but the baby was early so I ended up teaching a 3 hour grad seminar on the Wednesday after the Sunday birth. In addition our health insurance didn’t cover maternity so we had to pay out of pocket for the birth which because I was not actually paid very much meant I ended up in a 4 bed ward with 3 unwed teenage mothers as part of my care through a low income clinic; I paid at the top of their sliding scale but far less than if I had gone to a private practice.

      4. MashaKasha

        My OldJob had unlimited sick days when I started. Six months in, HR called us all into a meeting and announced that, due to a high number of people who had been caught gaming the system, we would now only get five sick days per year. Which sucked. I can’t understand why these people were gaming the system to begin with, OldJob was insanely generous with paid vacation time.

    2. Applesauced

      Yep, if your sick time is “use it or lose it” you can’t be that shocked when people GASP use it!
      In this case, I’d ask about the Monday trend, and if it’s not interfering with business operations and she’s has the time, let it go.

    3. JC

      I wouldn’t necessarily say it is inevitable. I’ve always worked places where sick leave is accrued, and where I currently work there is a limit on how much it can accrue (although the limit is very high, something like 6 or 8 weeks can accrue). I’ve never felt like my sick leave is a benefit that I want to use before it is gone—instead, I feel it is insurance to fall back on if I get sick and have to be out for an extended time. Vacation time is another story. I won’t lose an hour of vacation to use-or-lose!

      1. Judy

        Most places I’ve worked didn’t have a given number of sick days, you just “use what you need” and “if it becomes an issue, we’ll discuss with you”. Of course, short term disability kicked in after the 5th day of a given injury or illness. The two places that did have earned sick leave were use it or lose it at the end of the year, like vacation days.

    4. Sunflower

      Totally agree here. I have 7 sick days and 10 PTO. Many times my boss and other people have tried to reason with the company and turn it into one PTO pool but they refuse(my company is about 30 people total). Every person in my dept uses every single one of those days with 0% guilt. My boss is very upfront with me that he doesn’t care how I use my sick leave and he’d really rather me just tell him upfront when I’m going to be ‘sick’ so he can be prepared for it. My dept has to ‘hide’ this from everyone else so while we know when each other will be out ‘sick’, the higher-ups are hit with it last minute. I’m not sure what else to do. If we were really sick, the same thing would happen.

      I agree that it doesn’t sound like you are cool with her taking the time unexpected. I would just be upfront with your employee like my boss is with me. Seriously it will earn you major points and make your life much easier.

  17. third time commenter

    (I really need a better name…)

    #1: is it possible they’re stressed about work? I know when I get stressed by work it builds up over the weekend until I can hardly sleep on Sunday night because I’m worrying so much about the new work week. I’ve never yet called in sick on a Monday because of it, but there’ve been more Mondays when I’ve been tempted to call in than any other day for that reason.

    Do they seem stressed, or tired on Mondays even when they are in?

    1. The Other Dawn

      I agree. This is what happened to me at my last job. I hated the job and it was such a struggle to get myself in the frame of mind just to get out of bed in the morning. Weekends were so much worse, because having two days away from that place made me realize all over again (every weekend!) how much I hated working there; it was the wrong fit in every way possible. Mondays were a huge, huge struggle for me, since I had all weekend to stew about it. I called out sick on Monday several times because I just couldn’t handle going to work.

    2. Sammie

      Boy, do I hear you about this! I have an anxiety attack about #evilboss EVERY Sunday. I never call out–but am I tempted!

      1. Elizabeth West

        I used to be the same way, toward the end of my tenure at Exjob. I seriously considered sneaking all my stuff out at one point and then calling in and quitting on a Monday. Then things got a little better….and then I got laid off so that solved the problem. :P

      2. Maxwell Edison

        Heh, I knew I had to leave ToxicJob when I had to take anti-anxiety meds every Thursday morning so I’d be nice and calm for my weekly one-on-one with my manager.

  18. misspiggy

    I’m having trouble understanding OP 1’s approach to management. She wants to be a flexible and understanding manager, yet instead of informally asking what’s happening, she’s thinking of documenting the issue in a way that is likely to damage the employee’s career. The first thing to do is review this employee’s sick leave data, and if there is actually a strong Monday-off pattern, ask the person whether anything is going on on Mondays.

    If the employee is anything like me and has a diagnosed or undiagnosed chronic health condition, they will push themselves through to the end of the week, collapse on the weekend, and then be unable to get their body out of exhaustion and recovery mode in time. Just one possibility of the many.

    If it were me, I’d like my boss to articulate why this pattern may be a problem for the team or the work, and genuinely look at all the options – FMLA accommodations as others have mentioned, taking planned sick or holiday leave regularly, or just carrying on with the present approach. Then the arrangement can be documented, so that subsequent managers will have more reason to continue with the set-up instead of assuming it’s a performance issue that needs to be dealt with.

    1. Laurel Gray

      Agree. I can understand OP’s curiosity about the pattern of this sick time call out always happening for Mondays and I think a simple conversation where the employee is directly asked can solve this. I can understand the OP’s feelings about someone calling out sick in a pattern especially if there is nothing documented. If the employee does have a medical issue, I hope they tell the OP as vaguely as possible and OP is understanding.

    2. Rose

      Exactly. Plus (at least with my illness), being immunocompromised meant that when I wasn’t calling out for the actual symptoms of my chronic illness, I was out with strep. Or cellulitis. Or endless colds and flus. Or every gastrointestinal bug that floated by. Or freaking SHINGLES, at 27 years old. It just builds up.

  19. Sunshine Brite

    OP1: It sounds like you resent this a lot more than you would like to admit. It’s easy to feel taken advantage of. I would talk to her and if she has some sort of ongoing appointment maybe have her get a note next time, but if she’s sick or injured from something else that doesn’t need a doctor then don’t require a note. I hate that additional expense that’s usually super unnecessary and takes so much time.

  20. Sunshine Brite

    OP2: My knee-jerk reaction was to disagree with Allison a bit on not saying anything to the hiring manager’s boss, but thinking on it more it does seem like the better route is to say something to your manager if you have a good relationship. If your manager is also concerned then they would be the better person to approach the next level discreetly.

  21. Gandalf the Nude

    OP #1, I’m agreeing with everyone that you shouldn’t note it unless you have an issue with it. If a later manager has an issue with it and wants to see if there’s a history, they don’t need your note. Payroll can provide that sort of information.

  22. Allison

    Op #1, it’s great that you’re being flexible, and I like that you’re not one of those bosses who immediately gets suspicious when someone calls out sick on a Monday or Friday (or jokingly gives them a hard time about their “nice long weekend” when they get back). Fact is, you can get sick any day of the week, and you can get food poisoning or come down with a nasty cold on Sunday night, and it sucks when people accuse you of trying to score a long weekend when you really were feeling miserable that day. However, this seems to happen enough for you to be suspicious, so if you are concerned, that’s okay. Rather than silently stew over it, you really should tell her (not in a performance review), that you’ve noticed a pattern and it’s outside the range of what’s normal for employees, and you need a little more context for all these Monday absences.

  23. Afiendishingy

    Oh OP 3, I feel for you. I find job hunting very stressful, and one of the worst parts has got to be the phase you’re in where there is nothing you can do but wait. You just want any answer that isn’t “maybe” and it is utterly maddening that nobody has one. I think you have to follow the standard Alison advice here and proceed like you didn’t get it and keep looking- then if you do get an offer, what a lovely surprise! Best of luck, and I hope you don’t have to wait much longer!

  24. Annonie

    #1 – I take the first day of my period off every single month (using accrued PTO). It’s always on a Wednesday and I always have severe cramps to deal with that day. I don’t think it really matters the reason the employee is taking Mondays off so often since they use PTO and the manager says they have no problem with it, but I just wanted to mention that that’s a good possibility re: why if the employee is a woman.

    1. Amy

      This is definitely an option to consider if you find that the sick days are usually the same amount of days apart (i.e. 28.) I am lucky enough to have no real cramps and don’t need to take any days off, but my period comes like clockwork, always on the same day of the week.

    2. TMI

      I was going to mention this same thing. I am short on sick leave due to a chronic illness and we accrue sick days at 3 hours every two weeks so if I take one day off a month for cramps (and mine always started on Mondays), it looks like I’m taking off as soon as I have the time.

    3. Katriona

      I was going to mention that, too. In my case the birth control I took to control my severe cramps made me sick on the first Monday of a new pack, like clockwork. It actually took me few months to figure out the pattern and luckily(?) I wasn’t working at that time, but if I had been I’m sure I wouldn’t have wanted to explain that to my boss.

  25. AthenaC

    For #1 –

    I agree that it seems to be an unusual pattern, but please be careful when you ask about it. As other commenters have pointed out, it could very easily be for reasons that are firmly in the Not Your Business category. Additionally, this employee is acting within the boundaries of company policy, so there’s really nothing to complain about. If you do ask, I would point out the pattern and then phrase the question as “Is there something going on that you are comfortable sharing with me?” And then if the answer is “no,” drop it and pretend the conversation never happened.

    1. NJ Anon

      “Additionally, this employee is acting within the boundaries of company policy, so there’s really nothing to complain about.” Exactly, I once had a boss who was annoyed that an employee always seemed to call out sick on Mondays. However, he had the time coming to him so she couldn’t really say anything to him about it.

      1. Apollo Warbucks

        To me it really depends on the nature of the sick leave, I have a decent amount of sick leave at full pay, but it is for sickness only, if I called in randomly when I felt like it claiming to be sick when I’m not then that would be an abuse of the benefit.

        I would absolutely say something to someone who called in at short notice claiming to be sick if I thought they were just taking holiday instead of actually being sick, because I don’t like being lied to and it’s not fair to the rest of the staff that make an effort to schedule their time off appropriately.

        1. The IT Manager

          +1 You explained it very well.

          For me sick leave, is to be used when sick or for medical appointments not for “I don’t feel like going to work.” It’s a benefit (that accrues and isn’t lost), but it’s for a specific purpose. If the employee wants a vacation as a break from work, they can schedule a Monday off in advance. It sounds like the LW would be very happy to approve the Mondays as PTO.

          The fact that this only happens once the employee has accrued 8 hours really points to it being used as vacation days and not a legitimate illness. If it was for any of the reasons other commenters have mentioned about why an illness flairs up on a Monday it would happen on other days too, and the employee would probably take a half day or few hours to go to an appointment or sleep late before coming in.

          1. Amy

            I just wanted to point out (not just to you specifically, but in general) that “mental health days” can be a real thing and it isn’t necessarily synonyms with “I don’t feel like going to work.” I mean, sometimes people use it that way, but other people have legitimate mental health issues and may be just as sick as someone with a head cold, without having an actual physical illness. I could see this as being more likely to crop up on Mondays because of transition or stress related issues.

            Ideally the employee would be working to get this under control, but there’s definitely an attitude in America that only severe physical illness is an acceptable use for sick time, totally discounting the fact that some people have mental health struggles that can make them just as unable to work on short notice. It’s really no different than someone with a chronic physical illness like lupus, for instance.

            1. The IT Manager

              I disagree with your use of terminology. I have only seen “Mental Health Day” used as a jokey excuse. “It’s sunny and beautiful I am taking a mental health day.” “I’m sick of my boss and I’m taking a mental health day.”

              If someone has a mental health issue then they are sick and should take a sick day. There isn’t a separate bucket for sick days and mental health days at least not commonly. I’m not dismissing legitimate mental health issues, but the term “mental health day” is. Someone with a mental health issue is doing themselves a disservice if they say they are taking a mental health day instead of a sick day because they are going to get lumped in the slackers who are just using their sick days for a last minute day off.

        2. AthenaC

          I don’t disagree on the things that sick leave should and should not be used for, but enforcement of appropriate vs. inappropriate uses of sick leave can be difficult to do. While you don’t want people using their sick leave to take a long weekend, you also don’t want to inappropriately pry into the circumstances of an employee with a recurring medical or other issue that they don’t feel comfortable sharing with you. That’s why these bright line policies of having a certain number of allowable sick hours can be helpful to both managers and employees – if the employee is acting within the bounds of the policy, there’s no problem. Save the energy for those employees whose personal demands (legitimate or otherwise) are incompatible with stated attendance and workload expectations.

          1. Laurel Gray

            I agree with this and this is why I think some type of disclosure from the employee is necessary. Most chronic illnesses have symptoms and bad days that are unpredictable. I worked with a very great worker who has Crohns. You couldn’t clock her bad days to fall on a specific day. The only thing she could add to the calendar in advance was doctor’s appointments. I get the sense it is the pattern of Mondays and the “three day weekend” bothering the OP and I don’t think it should wait for performance review, I bet she could get a clear answer in under 5 minutes in a simple private conversation with this employee.

      2. Artemesia

        You don’t have the ‘time coming to you’ if you aren’t sick though. A generous sick leave policy doesn’t mean you can or should use it for vacation unless the place combines PTO into one pool as some do (the result of that of course is that sick people come in and spread it around so they save their time for fun.)

        I do have a puritanical view of sick leave though. I remember when I taught high school nearly 50 years ago I worked such long hours and around young people who were germ machines and would often struggle through the weeks and then be sick on weekends or vacation periods, but I never called in sick during the week once. I could sort of hold it together till breaks and then would sort of collapse with whatever bug was going around.

        1. Queen Anon

          So you’d go back to school and spread the germs around all over again? That doesn’t actually sound very appropriate or like a very good example. (Of course, I had friends whose mother would only let them stay home if they were actually vomiting. Everything else, fever or not, contagious or not, they went to school. So they got to spread the germs around too. No wonder we got sick so often as kids decades ago!)

      3. Nobody

        I totally disagree. Most companies give paid sick leave so employees can stay home when they are actually sick, so they can get better quickly and come back to work at 100%, and so they don’t spread contagious illnesses to other employees. It’s great that the OP trusts people to take time off when they’re sick and doesn’t make them feel bad about it, but the employee in question seems to be taking advantage, and I think the OP should absolutely address it with that employee. This kind of lax policy is only realistic if the manager can trust the employees.

        This is the kind of thing where a bad manager will make a rule for everyone based on one person’s abuse. A bad manager will see someone abusing the generous sick leave policy and say, “Ok, now I can’t trust employees to limit sick days to when they’re actually sick, so now if you call in sick, you have to get a doctor’s note,” letting the one bad apple make things harder for everyone. A good manager will address the issue directly with the one person who appears to be abusing the policy (but let me just add to the chorus that the performance review is not the first time the employee should be hearing about it).

  26. Mike B.

    #4 – Re. carrying the jacket rather than wearing it: outside of particularly conservative professions (where job applicants tend to know what they’re getting into), would anyone even raise an eyebrow if you left it at home altogether?

    Suit jackets aren’t weather-appropriate attire in much of the world right now. Let’s stop pretending it’s a faux pas to not want to broil in the hot sun.

    1. MicheleNYC

      I am so glad I work in an industry that for the most wearing a suit to an interview is not required and actually it would be really weird if someone did wear one.

    2. The OP aka cajun2core

      Mike B, I agree with you but unfortunately, a jacket is part of a suit and most people do wear jackets to interviews.

      1. Mike B.

        Who is “most people,” exactly?

        A dress shirt and pants (and a tie for men) constitute business attire; a jacket is an optional element for warmth that one would be crazy to actually wear to work in intense summer heat. I’m no longer going to indulge the minority of idiots (referring to employers, not to you or anyone here) who would actually hold this against a job applicant, and I don’t think anyone should do so unless they’re so desperate they can’t afford to take any chances.

    3. Artemesia

      MOst offices where wearing a jacket to an interview would be the norm are also air conditioned.

        1. Mike B.

          This makes more sense to me. But I think that’s a call we can make ourselves based on our typical body temperature needs, not based on a fear of being seen out of uniform.

    4. Windchime

      Reading about wearing a hot suit jacket makes me so happy I’m in IT. People in IT don’t even usually wear a tie to an interview, let alone a suit. Women wear slacks or a skirt with a nice top. That’s it. Oh, and because we are an IT shop in healthcare, we often have internal candidates interview in scrubs. Nobody even thinks twice about it.

  27. Applesauced

    #2 – I’m curious (maybe nosey) about your pay in this senario. I’m guessing the promotion came with a pay bump, so either a) you started the new position without extra pay (thinking it would be cleared up once made official) or b) you got paid more for a few weeks while doing the job, then went back to your previous salary?

  28. Erin

    #1 – I was once told that if you have a week’s vacation time, it looks better to higher ups if you take it all at once instead of taking one day each week. When people say, “Where’s Jane?” it’s like, “Oh she’s on vacation.” But with the one day a week scenario it *looks like* Jane is never there, and is out frequently. Even though it’s actually the same amount time being taken either way.

    (I realize we’re talking about sick time here not vacation time, but in any case, time employee is away from the office.)

    If actual work isn’t being affected – and it sounds like it’s not – I guess at this point I would ask, Are people noticing/complaining/gossiping about Jane not being here every Monday? What is the perception of this work situation to others in the office, and how important is that?

    Assuming work is business as usual and no one cares where Jane is as long as her work is getting done then I don’t think you have a problem. I think allowing employees flexibility like this could actually help with overall morale in the office.

    1. Ama

      That is true — I had to calm down a big boss once who was upset that a particular coworker was “taking too much time off.” She’d only taken off three days in six months, but they happened in two weeks — two days were a scheduled vacation and one was a sick day — and it happened to be the only three days big boss himself was in the office in that period.

  29. KT

    So I have a bit more openness to the 3 day weekend person.

    Everyone showed great compassion for that letter last week where the coworker couldn’t afford gas for work 5 days a week and was often calling out one day a week for that reason–perhaps this is the situation here too?

    And for my own anecdote…when my health was really iffy, I had to go for regular tests/injections every week. I was still in the “trying to get an idea of just how serious this is phase”, so I wasn’t ready to talk to my boss about it until I knew more. I used a lot of sick days for that until I knew what was going on.

    1. NickelandDime

      And my thoughts on this situation with OP#1 is much like my thoughts for the guy struggling with gas costs to get to work: I get it and I’m sympathetic. But I’ve seen too many instances where people put their jobs in jeopardy – and got fired – because of these types of situations. Try to think about it from the manager’s side – all they see is a problem with attendance, and they don’t know the back story. Give them a chance to help. Unless you know for FACT that your manager is a jerk, talk to them about what’s going on as much as you can, so there is some documentation to protect your job. Not coming to work regularly on Mondays is not going to fly with a lot of people. It’s very possible she is sick and struggling, or has doctor’s appointments, etc., but OP#1 doesn’t know that.

      If I managed someone that needed a lot of time for doctor’s appointments, etc., I would want to work with them as much as possible. I would want to help. Especially if they are a good employee! Why not let people help and support you?

      1. KT

        Oh I totally get it and agree employees should talk to their managers…but the manager needs to make sure they make themselves available and open so that people feel comfortable coming to them

        1. NickelandDime

          Absolutely. And I know some managers don’t make that possible. But in that case, you should really make use of any FMLA, short term disability, etc., to protect your job. I’ve seen too many folks get fired and it’s so frustrating to see, because that’s just one more problem they didn’t need.

    2. De (Germany)

      I used to take weekly medication that would make me tired and nauseous the next day. I took it Saturdays, but that meant that for three years my Sundays weren’t the most relaxing, so I was often quite exhausted even on Mondays.

  30. Ann O'Nemity

    #1 – I think it’s perfectly fine for a manager to want to create an environment in which employees can take sick time without guilt while still asking this employee to break their pattern of calling in Mondays without notice. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

    1. The Toxic Avenger

      100% agree. These absences are unplanned / last minute, and always on Monday? C’mon. If the employee needs a break they should schedule it. I used to work with this exact person and it drove us bananas. Once a month, when his 8 hours of sick time were accrued, he’d take it. On the dot. Infuriating.

  31. ModernHypatia

    #5 – no gift, but do write an email to the HR person’s supervisor, with details of how you really appreciate their approach. (You can cc: the person if you like, or send a separate note saying “I really appreciate how you approached my interview and hiring process, and I’ve sent a note to Relevant Person saying so”)

    Those kinds of notes to a supervisor can have a lot of weight, both in making someone feel recognised, and in encouraging the policies and practices that you found really helpful.

  32. Ad Astra

    OP #1, please do not document anything in a performance review that hasn’t been previously discussed with the employee. I had a manager who assured everyone that “nothing we talk about in your performance review should be a surprise,” and then felt blindsided when the review mentioned several incidents that she never brought to my attention. Things that could have been constructive criticism, like “Ad Astra needs to work more independently and proactively” felt more like attacks, because I’d been in the position for 14 months before anyone said anything. (For that particular criticism, her evidence was that I called my direct manager for clarification when I was struggling to gather the type of video footage we’d talked about on my very first video assignment. So I remain bitter.)

    From the letter, it doesn’t sound like the absences are becoming a performance problem, so they don’t belong in a performance review. If it turns out that they really are affecting performance and the OP didn’t mention that, then it’s important to address that with the employee immediately rather than bringing it up for the first time in a performance review.

    As for documenting this for the sake of a future manager: It’s really not necessary, especially since the OP doesn’t appear to have immediate plans to leave. A new manager will figure that out on her own.

  33. Minister of Snark

    #4 Unless you are interviewing for a position as a lawyer in a small southern town where your court appearances involve being constantly coated in a thin sheen of sweat, no, do not wear a seersucker suit to a job interview.

  34. YandO

    You know what really pisses me off?

    When employer says they are cool with something, but they really are not.

    If you don’t care about attendance and only care about output, then focus on the output. Does it matter that he/she misses Mondays or Saturdays? And by matter, I mean does it change work? Influences other team members? Makes any significant difference? If yes, address those issues and also set specific guidelines that employees can follow.

    If it does not matter and you *truly* don’t care, then for the love of sanity let this go. Completely.

    It is very frustrating thing to be an employee and taking advantage of flexibility the boss has granted you, only to find yourself in a position of being disciplined/talked to about the thing you thought *could* do and that made *no* difference to your output.

    Also, is it possible that you are judging this employee because the days are Mondays and you think it’s party related? If yes, please stop. I often have Migraines on the weekend that extend into the Monday or I need Monday to recover and I assure you, they are not party related.

    1. Allison

      “You know what really pisses me off?

      When employer says they are cool with something, but they really are not.”

      PEOPLE who do this, in general, bother me. Especially when something is *obviously* not fine and they are very clearly lying to my face when they tell me something is no big deal. It is especially bad when it’s a manager, and all they do is stew silently about a problem, pretending it’s no big deal, until it’s such a huge problem that the poor person has absolutely no hope of redeeming his or her self and remaining employed, because they’re basically told “fix this right now or else” and at that point the habit is too well established to break in the short time frame they’re given.

      So for the love of God, humans, either honestly tell someone that something they’re doing (or not doing) is a problem, or actually let it go. Putting on a plastic smile and being passive aggressive isn’t an option for grownups.

      1. NickelandDime

        I was really disturbed she planned on discussing it during the performance review. Now, I think the employee has some responsibility in this situation, because missing Multiple Mondays a Month wouldn’t fly with many people, but it’s the manager’s responsibility to ask questions if something is bothering them. Why wait for a performance review to discuss something?

        1. Laurel Gray

          Agree! Even with generous sick leave, patterned call outs wouldn’t fly with most managers unless they had some knowledge of an ongoing issue. I have never had a manager who pressed employees about using sick days when they knew the employee was dealing with a health issue.

      2. LBK

        That’s when I say “I’m telling you right now that I’m taking whatever you’re saying at face value. If you tell me you’re fine, I’m going to proceed as if you’re fine. If you’re not, this is your opportunity to say something.” If they choose to be passive aggressive after that instead of direct, I absolve myself of the responsibility to care.

    2. Ad Astra

      I once spun out on the highway on a snowy day in my decrepit car with bald tires and ended up facing the wrong way in a busy lane, narrowly avoiding a crash. I made it home fine, but the experience was scary enough that my nerves were shot. When I woke up the next morning to find it was snowing yet again, I asked if it would be ok to work from home because I just wasn’t feeling comfortable driving my car in that mess, on the same highway where I’d done a 180 the night before. My manager said sure, so I worked from home without incident.

      A month later, this came up in a meeting about a possible PIP, where I was sternly warned that it’s my responsibility to find a way to get to work. If it was that much of a sticking point, why didn’t my manager just tell me I had to come in? This was the beginning of the end at this job, and with this infuriating manager.

      1. Brandy

        I had this come up at the post office. I called in stating I’d be late as we were all sitting on ice, and the woman was all “fine” and then months later, “we work in inclement weather”. I was done shortly after that. I really don’t care if the mails delivered in inclement weather. I give the post office a pass.

  35. LavaLamp

    #2 – So, did this pirmotion come with a raise? Did your salary get knocked back down? That’s just craptastic. Someone needs to know about this because it’s a huge breakdown in communication. What if you didn’t have a job to go back to? Yeah. Someone needs to know.

  36. The IT Manager

    #2, this sucks and is also pretty bizarre. You did absolutely nothing wrong. You were told you had the job by the Hiring Manager and started following your new supervisor’s direction to do the job. This happens a lot in internal transfers – a slow transition that is, not a bizarre bait and switch. You potential co-workers were told you had the job and believed it so much so that they thought you quit the job that apparently you never had.

    You should report this to HR. Leave out the security issue. Just say that you interviewed for the job and then was lied to by being told you had the job and then started the new job. A number of people can corroborate this because they were told you had the job too. You started to do the job apparently while the interviewing process was still occurring and when someone else was announced you were told not by the Hiring Manager because she never spoke to you again. All the mistakes were made by the hiring manager and you are not at fault.

    BTW: I do suspect that this may not have been malicious. Maybe the Hiring Manager wanted to hire you, was overly enthusiastic in getting you started, and then didn’t have as much say in the hiring process as she thought and couldn’t make it happen. She may be avoiding you out of shame. Malicious or not, though, her mistake was massive and really screwed you over. It undermined you at work; people think you flaked out on the new job after a month! And of course the avoiding you and not taking responsibility for it by announcing the reversal to everyone who was told you were hired to it is just another really poor choice on her part. Not being malicious does not excuse her mistake which should be reported to management and dealt with.

  37. baseballfan

    #1 – I think this should be discussed with the employee before putting it in any performance review. That being said, I would personally be having the conversation if I were the manager. It seems clear the manager thinks this employee is lying about being sick and/or calling out just to use up sick days. I have a problem with lying, so that is the performance problem that I would be addressing here.

  38. Laurel Gray

    OP #1:

    I am a fan of people telling their employer (without too much detail) in advance of any circumstances that affect attendance. You have a chronic illness? All you have to disclose is that you have a chronic illness. Transportation issues related to child care like a school bus that is late sometimes? Disclose with an estimate of when you will be in/work from home etc. I am a strong believer in personal life privacy in the workplace and colleagues and bosses respecting that but I do believe that workers should disclose just a little information to kill any assumptions/rumors/gossip etc. If the OP has picked up that this person calls out last minute on Mondays, other workers may have picked up on it too. Maybe they know this worker personally and know why they do this, and maybe they don’t. But I think this bare minimum disclosure by the worker will at least keep managers like the OP from making wrong assumptions or including attendance in a review (which could later bite this worker in the ass come reference time). OP, don’t wait for the review to bring this up, and if you do, do not have any parts of this topic in anything formally written related to the review.

    1. Brandy

      yes. I remind my boss every 6 months that I have a 96 year old granny, so you never know when I might need bereavement time.

    2. Anonymous20

      I agree to some extent but I know of places that are less than kind to people who disclose these ‘issues’. There are Supervisors and Managers who actively try to get rid of someone knowing this information. I know it may not be legal or ethical but it happens all the time. I have to say that to me disclosure has not ever been helpful to the employee. I never understood people telling their current boss they are actively looking because I thought it would change the work relationship. At least it has always been my thought to keep my private business out of the workplace. I know HR and manager/supervisors are supposed to keep things confidential but I know of organizations that do not do this at all.

  39. TheVet

    The only time I’ve ever had this happen was when the guy was on some sort of work release and ashamed to tell anyone.

  40. L

    #1 – Whatever you do, please make sure you handle this in a way that doesn’t pry into your employees personal medical issues. I am one of those people that doesn’t “look” sick. I can function most days and when I can’t, I really can’t. There was a point at which I was making appointments so it corresponded with my newly acquired sick leave. It was awful.

    I’d urge you to pinpoint why this is a problem.

  41. Jane

    I like the respect that this manager displays to his workers by being more accepting and allowing of time off. BUUUT, I think if he polled the co-worker pool, more than one of them might be steaming under the collar about that other coworker abusing the time off policy. Like, maybe someone else would like to take off Monday, or not have to pick up the slack for them. Just kinda feel out other people, without naming specifics. In addition, maybe the person taking off so much time on Mondays has a weekend job or a sick family member.

  42. Amber Rose

    Off topic: I learned something new today. I had no idea polyester was that awful. It explains why I always seem to sweat more in one outfit though. It’s tetron: polyester rayon blend. Light and cool my ass, online store!

  43. Grey

    #5: A good HR manager will refuse the gift. Avoid putting her in that awkward situation.

  44. OP #1

    Wow, thank you for all of the comments!

    Just to clarify some things:
    1. I’m 99% sure this person is not an alcoholic (religion forbids it and they are very religious)
    2. They are not a caregiver
    3. They are always specific about why (pulled my back, food poisoning, bad cold, etc.) I never ask. That information is always offered to me when they call and leave me a message on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning.
    4. I actually am okay with my employees taking their PTO. I guess my sensitivity comes from having to fire an employee (turned out they were not fit for duty because of mental issues) but NOBODY before me had documented any issues so it was very difficult for me.

    I ended up not mentioning it in the review because it’s not something I had previously discussed with them. I didn’t even think that it might just be a *gut* feeling that I guess I need to get over so my feelings are in line with my rational thinking =)

  45. LawBee

    re #1 – would it be possible to change the worker’s schedule to a four-day 10-hour gig? Then she could do whatever it is she needs to do on Mondays (normally I’d assume hangover, but Monday is a weird day for that). I agree with AAM in that if you don’t care, then it’s not something that should be documented, but also in that how we are perceived by those we DON’T work with can have negative or positive impacts on our careers.

  46. Anonymous20

    #1. I have to say AAM is spot on about the giving them time to correct it before you put it in a review. I had a Supervisor who gave me a glowing review and then the following day tried to ‘coach’ me on an issue that had never been brought up prior to the review period. Also, it wasn’t valid because I was doing my work and assisting my coworkers.It made it seem like after praising my work she was trying to sabotage my work reputation. Needless, to say I left within a few months for a more hours at a different organization. I have issue when any organization tries to ruin a worker’s reputation without giving them a chance to make the changes.

    On a side note, I will say I have been the employee who called out on Mondays but really I was genuinely sick each and every time. I do concede that as an employee it is not the best way to conduct themselves. Although, this is small compared to outright refusal to adhere to work policies.

  47. CM

    An employee can’t possibly be “sick” every Mon or always on a Mon. There is some deeper issue here, and I think you are justified in looking into it.
    This has to be affecting other employees – is someone else covering the absences? If so that’s another problem waiting to be hatched.

    Also, accrued time isn’t intended to be a bank they can just access whenever they want; it needs to be justified.

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