Why Attendance Policies Are So Important

by Evil HR Lady on October 9, 2020

I have a problem with employees calling in to say they are not coming into work once they’ve reached 40 hours. We have a lot of overtime available, so it’s easy to have worked 40 hours by Thursday. People then call to say they are not coming in on Friday and don’t want to use their paid time off to cover the time, since they’re already getting paid for 40 hours (plus more, because of California overtime laws). It’s really causing problems with scheduling. What can I do?​

To read my answer, click here: Why Attendance Policies Are So Important

You know how companies are responding to COVID-19 in your area, but this is a pandemic that affected the entire world. Well, apparently, there are island nations (like Tonga, Samoa, and the Pitcairn Islands) that have escaped the virus.

But, the rest of the world had to battle this. What is it doing to business? How are HR people around the globe coping?

Well, the honest answer is that COVID-stress has gotten to every HR and employee relations department in the world.

We worry about our employees getting sick, getting everyone paid, updating policies and procedures and battling bureaucrats and recalcitrant employees no matter what language we’re speaking.

To keep reading, click here: A Global Tour: How HR Teams Around the World are Handling the Pandemic

Just yesterday, I received an email nudging me gently to do something I could have sworn I had already done. I hadn’t. So, what made me think I had done it? It turns out that we can mistake an intention for an action. I meant to respond to that email, and therefore, my brain checked it off as a completed task. Thanks, brain, for leading me astray.

If you’ve ever done this, you may be relieved to find out that it’s totally normal—and common, according to a new study from Dolores Albarracin and her University of Illinois colleagues. Their research revealed that when we intend to do something, it can trigger our brains to think we actually did it. They found that the effect is even more substantial when intending to do something is very similar to doing it. 

To keep reading, click here: Managers, Cure Your Forgetfulness with a Simple Accountability Trick

Plus, a couple of questions!

Moved to a High Covid Risk Job. What Are My Options?

by Evil HR Lady on October 5, 2020

I’ve been out on FMLA helping my elderly parents. Dad had Covid. I recently returned to work. One day last week and 1 day this week. My employer was moving me to another unit, which I haven’t worked on in years. My permanent spot was a dementia unit. I’ve been at my job for 20 years, so I thought I had seniority. Upon returning to work where they’re are Covid patient, I felt very unsafe since I live with my parents, who continue to need my help. My question is, can I collect unemployment? I’ve resigned effective Oct. 3rd as I felt like my parents will be compromised if I continue going there. Thanks for your help in this matter.

It might be a bit late for you, since you resigned, but most likely you won’t be eligible for unemployment, given a resignation. Your state may have different guidelines for Covid related resignations, however, and the advice is always apply for unemployment and appeal if they deny you.

That said, let’s look at another option: FMLA retaliation.

If the job on the Covid unit isn’t as good as the one on the Dementia unit, or they generally assign jobs based on seniority, so you should get first pick and you’re placed in an undesirable position, that might be what we call FMLA retaliation.

When a company (or manager or HR department) punishes you for taking legally protected time off work, that’s illegal, even if it isn’t termination.

The question is, is this move retaliation? It may be and it may not be. Are they struggling to keep the Covid ward staffed? Is it considered undesirable by everyone? Are all the other people doing your job the newbies while the senior people get a chance to pick their location?

Did you ask if you could be moved back to your old unit?

Sometimes, it’s not retaliation–it’s simply a staffing situation. If you’re a nurse, and are qualified to work in 10 different departments, and you get back from FMLA, they just slot you into the first open spot. Done! No one thinks about it as a punishment and if you’d come back a week earlier it would have been someplace different and if you would come back a week later, it would be a third unit. It’s simply the place that needed a nurse. Your pay and schedule don’t change.

To a lot of people that’s neutral.

To you, of course, it’s not. You’re concerned about exposure and your parents’ health. The question is, did you make that clear? Did you talk with your boss and/or the HR department about your new assignment?

Because you’ve already resigned, it might be difficult for you to have this discussion now, but it’s worth a shot. Let them know you want to continue working, but it’s not safe for your family if you work on the Covid unit and ask if there are other options.

Under FMLA, they aren’t required to return you to the exact position you had before, but they are required to provide you with a similarly situated position. If they moved you out of malice, it’s retaliation. If they moved you because that was where they needed you, and it’s considered a similarly situated place, it’s probably not.

The other option would be to ask people if they were willing to switch units with you. People have different work goals and different interests.

So, go back and ask if there’s anything that they can do. If that fails, apply for unemployment, but don’t be surprised if it’s not granted since you resigned.

If you feel like this move was retaliatory in nature, contact an employment attorney.

Have a workplace dilemma? Email me at EvilHRLady@gmail.com

Employment attorney Jeff Nowak works in Chicago–or, at least he did until the coronavirus hit. Now he works out of his suburban home. While his LinkedIn profile still says Chicago–since that’s where his office is located–LinkedIn recently asked him to change his location to the site of his suburban home office.

At the same time, LinkedIn updated my town from Basel Area, Switzerland, to Basel, Basel-Town, Switzerland. I recently moved from the Basel suburbs (which I would classify as Basel Area) to the middle of the city. I figured they must be classifying people based on their IP addresses with Jeff’s experience and mine. With everyone working at home, IP addresses were showing up as homes rather than offices.

I was wrong.

To keep reading, click here: Why It Matters if LinkedIn Switches Your Location on Your Profile

I have employees in three different school districts, and each district has different rules for attendance. Because of COVID-19, some of my employees have kids doing 100% remote learning, some are doing hybrid learning and the last school district lets employees choose. We have 200 employees, so we’re subject to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Do I have to let everyone take paid time off? Should I have to let parents work from home? We’ve re-opened and we’re much more productive in-person, so I’m not sure how to best support parents without jeopardizing our business.

To read my answer, click here: How Can I Support Employees Dealing with Remote Learning?

Leave your own in the comments!

If you have a workplace dilemma, email me at EvilHRLady@gmail.com

Today is the Best Day to Ask for a Raise

by Evil HR Lady on October 1, 2020

October 1 might seem like a silly time to ask for more money. Lots of company’s do year end performance appraisals and year end raises, so it seems a bit early.

It’s not.

Here’s why.

Budgets are made in advance.

If your company does a year end raises, the budgets for those are made now–or may already be made. You don’t have any say over how much money is available, and unless you report directly into the CEO, your boss probably doesn’t have much say about the available cash. Your boss will get a budget (probably). That budget is probably arriving soon.

Ask for more money before your boss has made her decisions

After your boss has allocated all the money in her budget, it’s going to be a lot harder to convince her to take money away from someone to give it to you. That seems cruel. But, if you can make your case before she’s allocated any of the dollars, then your manager doesn’t think, “I’m taking this money from John, Karen, and Steve to give to Sally,” but “Sally deserves this much. Okay, how much is left for John, Karen, and Steve.”

Make your case

If you walk into your boss’s office and say, “I deserve a 10 percent raise,” and have no data to back it up, it won’t go over well. If you can come in with data, it will help you. What kind of data? Well, things like this:

  • Your accomplishments–especially above and beyond ones.
  • Words of praise from clients (internal and external).
  • Evidence of how you are working at a higher level than your job description indicates.
  • Market data for your position.

If you can’t demonstrate that you are better than average then expecting an above average raise is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Don’t wait until your boss tells you your year end raise

The worst time to ask for a raise is when your boss sits down with you and says, “your year end raise is 3.2%.” Even if you truly do deserve 7.5% and you have all the documentation for it, it’s not happening. Why? Because of budgets. For your boss to give you a bigger raise now, she’d have to call all her other employees back and say, “Oops, I told you your raise would be 4% but I have to drop it to 3% because Sally deserves more.” This is not happening.

The only exception is if you can demonstrate that there is something illegal about your raise or salary. If you can demonstrate race/gender/religion/whatever discrimination then you may be able to get a bigger raise at this point. But, if that’s the issue, please bring it up today. Don’t just hope it goes away.

Put your data together now

October 1 isn’t the only day to ask for a raise–but you should start pulling your information together now and ask as soon as possible. Asking, of course, is just asking, and it doesn’t guarantee a bigger year end raise. But, (as long as you’re not obnoxious) it does increase your probability of getting a good raise.

Don’t blame your boss

Your boss probably has no control over the budget and if you work with a high performing team, that can bite you in the behind at raise day. If your boss only has 3% to spread around and everyone is a great performer, you’re not going to get 10%, even if you deserve it.

It is true that the higher level of influence your boss has the more likely she is to be able to get additional funds. If you report into a first level supervisor, well, you’re stuck. If you report into the Sr. VP, you probably have more luck.

True story: One year, my boss happened to secure more money for our group (HRIS) and they took it away from the recruiters. It was a glorious day for data nerds. Oh, shhh, that was probably a secret. Don’t tell anyone.

And get your stuff together and go ask for a raise.

I’m about to Get Fired. How Do I Prepare?

by Evil HR Lady on September 30, 2020

Currently, I am working as a full-time engineer, and my boss is giving me a hard time. The problem is that my boss may fire me soon like in 2 or 3 weeks, so I want to get prepared for this early sudden termination.

Do I have to collect some evidence like “my boss gave me hard-time during work,” to prepare for any sudden termination? The previous ex-employee who get fired a year ago said he should have signed on some documents about “no-suing” etc. 

If you feel like you are about to get fired, here is what you need to do.

Take all your personal items home. This may seem like a ridiculous thing, but for reasons unknown to me, people bring priceless and irreplaceable items to the office and then are devastated when they lose them after being fired. Take them home now.

Remove any personal documents off your work computer/phone. Don’t steal any proprietary information. You do not want to do that. But, lots of people use their work phones and computers for personal things. Pictures of your kids? Your latest copy of your resume? Make sure you have those on personal devices.

Get copies of your performance appraisals and any other documents you may need. If you feel that your termination is unfair or illegal, having your performance appraisals can demonstrate that you were a good employee. Yes, your lawyer can subpoena those, but it’s far easier (and cheaper) if you have them. If you have any signed documents, get a copy of those. Things like non-competes, relocation contracts, and non-disclosure agreements all hinge on the actual language. Make sure you have a copy.

Update your resume. No time like the present! You can use your performance appraisals and goals to help you figure out how to add this current job to your resume.

Start actively looking for a new job. It is always easier to find a job when you have one. Getting some things lined up while you still have a steady paycheck makes it easier.

Try to save your current job. Most people would put this first on the list, but I’ve been involved in a enough terminations to know that if you feel like you’re about to get fired, it may be too late. But, many jobs can be saved. Go to your boss and say, “I feel like you’re unhappy with my performance. Can we make a plan together to improve things?” Trust me, this isn’t given your boss any ideas he doesn’t have already. Even if your job isn’t salvageable, this can help extend it while you look for a new job.

Of course, if you’re already on a performance improvement plan, you should be focused on fixing the problems laid out there. If you have a competent HR department, certainly go to them and ask for help.

But, if the termination comes, at least you’re prepared.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send me an email at EvilHRLady@gmail.com

The Real HR Show: Covid 19 Claims Update

by Evil HR Lady on September 29, 2020

Learn what’s going on in the world of Covid based lawsuits. And plus, a couple of questions about resignations and job interviews.

Remember to like and follow The Real HR Show!