Employee Request For Special Scheduling

I  have a wonderful employee who is critical to our practice in the position she holds.  She (as does everyone on our staff) has kids and would like to be home earlier with them than the position at times requires. She only want this consideration while school is in session. Typically our office closes at 5 pm. There are times that it could be later due to patients may still be with the Dr's. Her home is less than 3 minutes away. Myself and all most all other staff have commutes varying from 20 minutes to an hour. I want to be as diplomatic as possible holding to the terms in which she was originally hired under, but honestly am a little perturbed the question was even posed. HR pro's I need some guidance please.......


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  • Are there multiple employees who hold the same job as the employee asking for special scheduling?  If there are, possibly consider a rotating schedule where 1 to 2 days per week each employee is allowed to start earlier and leave earlier.  This way, it will not disrupt business, everyone gets the same treatment, and it shows strong compromise.  If she is the only employee in that position and it will not disrupt business, then I would say to go ahead and allow the special treatment, but make the employee aware it is purely because of her position.  This way, other employees holding different positions can not get upset. 
  • Gonna brainstorm a bit....

    Whenever an employee asks, we look at their length of service, performance, loyalty, etc and job duties/position and try to accommodate them based on those. You state she is "critical to the practice" and "wonderful" but then turn around and say that the request perturbs you. There are times where we have been able to say yes and others where we have had to say no.  It's hard to say in your situation because those details (position, service, duties) are lacking.  You say "the terms she was originally hired under"....how long ago was that? If it was 6 months ago, that is much different than 6 years ago!

    I will say I am biased as I have been blessed as a working mom to get flexible work arrangements from when I was on bedrest with twins back in the mid-90s and then with my current job for 6 years I worked 8:00 to 2:30 to work around my youngest's school schedule. I was able to stick with both employers for long periods because they worked with me on family care arrangements. There were times when I took hour and pay cuts to be able to do so.  And there are times where I work way beyond my "normal" schedule to get my duties accommplished. Both employers knew that when they granted me the flexible arrangements. And there have been times when other employees either haven't asked at all or asked and were turned down and they got grumpy because I wasn't turned down.  So my perspective is a bit skewed by that.

    Other employees commute times should not be taken into account since they truly don't matter to her schedule.  Is her presence critical everyday during the last few hours of your office operations?  Does she have other options (i.e. would she leave if she doesnt' get the accommodation)?  Have others in the past requested this and been turned down?  Are her set of circumstances more favorable (i.e. lives closer so doesn't have to leave quite as early)?  Either it will work for the business or it won't.  I wouldn't let yours or others feelings get into the way of the discussion.

    You can also allow it for a trial, temporary basis to see how it works.  You'd want to make sure she would have backup care for the kids if she needed to be called back in  due to work reasons or needed to stay later on a day where she was normally allowed to leave early.


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