Policy Flexibility

We have a written policy that hourly employees must work their scheduled day before and after a holiday in order to receive holiday pay...period. One employee called in the day after Memorial Day, but insists he should be allowed holiday pay because he has a doctor's excuse.

One manager believes our policies should be flexible. Another believes flexibility becomes subjective and only creates/invites current and future problems.

Two issues:
1. Should policies in general be flexible?
2. Should a doctor's excuse negate policy in this instance?

Need responses ASAP....Thanks ! ! !


  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • While I am in favor of writing plenty of flexibility into policies to allow managers to manage your business, most companies that have this type of holiday policy strictly enforce it because its purpose is to prevent an inordinate number of employees from lengthening their holidays. It is quite easy to obtain a doctor's note simply by calling your personal physician. Discuss it in terms of fairness with the employee, stating that the company cannot evaluate everyone's reason for missing, that there are unscrupulous doctors who will furnish doctor's notes to their patients and for that reason we cannnot make exceptions to this particular policy.

    Margaret Morford
  • I concur that flexibility is essential to managing the workforce. Policies written in concrete not only hand-cuff the employer from doing the right thing, but will inevitably encourage a labor union to march in and improve "the Gestapo environment". While your Holiday pay policy is very common and appropriate for attendance issues, you might think about allowing employees who have been previously approved for an absence to also receive holiday pay. What do you do if someone is chosen for jury duty the day after a holiday, or is already on vacation during the week of a holiday, or is on FMLA w/ pay? I personally dislike the day b/4 and after provision becuz it's so inflexible. Typically a policy like this gets adopted cuz management is unwilling to "manage the workforce" and prefers to have a policy do it for them. I just think there's a better way to do it.
  • We used to have a policy like that which applied to all employees. Absolute. Made not difference what the reason for absence, no pay. We had to withhold pay from those who were stranded in airports, in the hospital, sick, as well as those who just wanted a longer weekend. Soon occasional "exceptions" were being made. When I refused to pay the general manager's administrative assistant for the day following a holiday after he told her she could have it off, I had the opportune time to suggest canning the policy. We did, and I couldn't be happier. Adding "flexibility" to a zero tolerance policy is impossible.
  • Just to clarify, your policy should read "scheduled" day before and after a holiday. This means that if anyone is on jury duty, takes a few extra vacation days to lengthen their holidays, bereavement leave, etc., they still get holiday pay so long as they work their expected schedule. The only people who do not get paid are those that miss because they are sick or on a leave of absence. Hope that helps. Call me at 615-371-8200 if you have any questions.

    Margaret Morford
  • I think that what you do should reflect what kind of company you are and what your culture is. The policies to which you refer are very common, but in my opinion, are a very logical response to losing production when one persons absence impacts the work - assembly, factory etc. Most of us don't work in those environments today and, just perhaps, the strict no tolerance approach is a throwback to a different time. We changed ours to will be paid if the employee is on some sort of approved paid leave before and after the holiday and the employees appreciate the flexibility. It is most appreciated by those employees who are on sick leave and who would otherwise miss out on the holiday pay. We would treat emergency illness or other situation where there is no opportunity for pre-approval on a case by case basis with the idea that most employees will be honest and the person who will take advantage is the exception.
  • Our company's policy is that as long as the employee has pre-approved timeoff
    whether it is paid or not, they get paid the holiday leave. This way the employee can have extra time off and we can plan our schedule, and haven't had the problem of people calling in sick.

Sign In or Register to comment.