It seems that everywhere I go this time of year I run into tables set up for the sole purposes of making sure I have taken a flu shot. Every retailer now seems to operate its own medical clinc for sole purpose of charging us for one of these fun flu shots. This reminds me of the oncoming winter season and the increased level of employee absences for illness or family illness-related reasons. So whether you take a flu shot or not, the flu season is on the doorstep. Here are a few thougths for the season:
1. React early to an attendance problem. Don't allow an employee to miss work on multiple occasions before applying your attendance policy to the situation.
2. Make sure you have a good understanding of what is driving the absence. Is there an illness issue for the employee or is it a family member concern? Is this the type of condition that might trigger an FMLA leave situation if you are covered by the FMLA?
3. If there is an FMLA leave situation at play, designate the leave and get it counted against the employees FMLA leave allowance. And make sure any discipline process is reviewed and withdrawn. You don't want to issue discipline for time off that is protected by the FMLA.
4. If there isn't an FMLA situation or a concern under the ADA, issue any discipline required by the attendance policy without delay. Don't get caught up in the story or the particluar situation.
Dealing with employee attendance concerns in a prompt and decisive manner is a key part of every supervisors job. Make sure your supervisors are ready for the start of absence season. A few minutes spent now talking about these concerns is likely to save you a lot of time in the coming months.