6 Tips for Managing Holiday Time Off

by Evil HR Lady on December 3, 2018


Holiday time-off requests can be overwhelming. Everyone wants the exact same days off, and may submit their requests at the exact same time. So, how do you manage to keep your employees happy and your business running?

It’s not easy, but there are some things that you can do to make it easier. Not every solution works for every business, but take a look at this list of six helpful suggestions.

1. Alternate Major Holidays

If your business is open on major holidays, managing vacation requests can be extra difficult. Alternating holidays can be a useful approach. So, if one person gets Thanksgiving off, then they have to work Christmas or New Year’s Day.

If your business isn’t open on the holiday but is on the days surrounding it, the same principles can apply. For instance, if John worked on the day after Thanksgiving, he gets priority for the day after Christmas over Sue, who had Black Friday off.

To keep reading, click here: 6 Tips for Managing Holiday Time Off


Swiss Saturday: Medical Care

by Evil HR Lady on December 1, 2018

Lately, my family has had more than it’s fair share of events resulting in doctor’s visits. And I probably should have gone for stitches last week when I sliced my finger open, but I didn’t, and now it’s healing very weirdly. Good thing I’m not a hand model.

It always makes me laugh when people talk about European health care systems because every country is different. Switzerland doesn’t have socialized medicine–we buy our own policies. The law requires that you have health insurance and that the insurance meets certain standards, but beyond the minimum, you can pay for what you want. And insurance isn’t tied to your job, so if you change jobs, get fired, or want to start your own business, your health insurance isn’t affected. If you can’t afford insurance, the government will subsidize you.

It’s a nice system. We pay a bit more than strictly necessary, but the insurance company deals with us in English–written and spoken and, frankly, that’s worth some extra money. We pay about 1400 francs a month for a family of 4, so it’s not cheap but it is cheaper than what a lot of my friends in the us pay. (The dollar is generally equal to the franc.)

You are also (generally) responsible to pay your own bills and then submit directly to the insurance company for reimbursement. This cuts costs because doctor’s offices don’t need people to do battle with the insurance companies. Hospitals and pharmacies tend to bill the insurance companies directly but every doctor and dentist that I’ve seen bills me and then I submit.

My husband and I each have 2000 CHF deductibles so I don’t even bother to submit bills for us unless it’s going to hit that limit. (I do submit for dental cleanings and gym memberships as those don’t count against the deductible–and yes, we get up to 500 CHF for gym memberships. The kids have 0 deductibles so they get everything submitted.

It’s a good system and I like it but there are some super weird things about the Swiss medical system as well. For instance:

No paper gowns. Going to the gynecologist for the first time is freaky. “Just take off your pants,” the doctor says and then sits there while you do so. Uhhh, yikes. I haven’t had a full body scan at the dermatologist yet but my friends assure me that you stand there completely naked, from head to toe. Awkward for Americans. Europeans reading this are probably like, “how else would you do it?”

We don’t believe in pain medication. By we, I mean Swiss people, not me. You can buy Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Acetaminophen at the pharmacy, but you have to ask for it. And, more often than not, the pharmacist will ask you why you want it. If your answer isn’t acceptable, they’ll hold back. My husband had surgery last year and didn’t get any of the “good” drugs. Just ibuprofen. When I’m in the states, I go to Target and buy a 500 count bottle. That way I don’t have to deal with judgy pharmacists.

We don’t believe in anti-depressants. I do. And my doctor does, thankfully. She’s actually from New Zealand. But, I’ve had friends who have had difficulty getting help. The doctors tend to say, “drink a cup of tea! go for a walk!” Because I’m open about my depression, people are willing to come to me and tell me this and then I send them to my doctor. They very much like nature here and I’m all for it, but sometimes you need medication.

We do believe in homeopathy. This drives me absolutely crazy. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy movement lived in Switzerland, just a couple of towns over. His movement has some weird ideas including their opposition to right angles, but the one that is dangerous is homeopathy. You have to be careful even in the pharmacy when you ask for something for a specific ailment that they don’t hand over some expensive water.

Well-child checks last an hour. In the US, there was always a checklist where the doctor would ask questions like, “can he take a toy from one hand and put it in the other?” and I always felt dumb because I never knew what to watch for. Here, the pediatrician hands the kid a toy and watches. Even with my 10-year-old at his last well child check, she made him jump around the room, kick a soccer ball, and throw things. She has him draw pictures and do simple puzzles to check his development. It’s so much better than asking mom, “How is his development?”

Emergency room fun. I had to take my daughter to the emergency room a few years ago, when she got hit by a tram. We handed over our insurance card and later received a bill for 300 francs. Not our part–that was the total. But, a few months ago my sister-in-law and nephew were visiting and her son got sick. Instacare won’t see you until you are 3, so to the emergency room, we went. Because she didn’t have a European insurance card, they required a 500 franc deposit to be seen. But, because that’s crazy and the toddler just had a fever, the nurse took his temperature in the waiting room, told her how to dose alternating acetaminophen and ibuprofen and sent her to the pharmacy across the street without charging anything.

Titles aren’t common. I’ll always ask to speak to Dr. Whatever, but they’ll introduce themselves as Herr (Mr) or Frau (Ms) and speak of each other like that as well: “I see you met with Mrs. Kindler.” It’s weird to me. I  kind of like the idea of doctors not being equal to me–I want them to be superhuman or something. Even the bills from the pediatrician say “Frau Doctor ” instead of just “Doctor.” Also, while they taught us in German class that the word for nurse is “Krankenschwester” (literally sickness sisters, so named because the original nurses were nuns), no one uses that and the name badges all say Pflegerin (someone who takes care of). I can pronounce Krankenschwester more easily, so I’m kind of bummed about that.




How Gen Z Should Use LinkedIn

by Evil HR Lady on November 30, 2018

Sure, some recruiters will show up on campus, but most aren’t looking specifically for new grads, so you need to get a way to get your information in front of all these recruiters. You may assume that LinkedIn isn’t the place to be–it’s where your mom looks for a job. But, because it’s where recruiters are, a LinkedIn profile is a great way to make a splash in the professional world, even when you’re inexperienced.

Gen Z is generally well versed in social media, but LinkedIn is a bit different than exchanges with friends.

Tony Restell, Director, Social Media Marketing at Social-Hire recently gave some tips to help college students maximize the benefit of LinkedIn. With his permission, here are Restell’s tips:

To keep reading, click here: How Gen Z Should Use LinkedIn

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Can a New Manager Require Exempt Employees to Clock In?

by Evil HR Lady on November 29, 2018

A newly-hired manager is telling salaried employees that they have to work 45 hours a week, take designated lunch breaks and set daily hours. If employees miss time, they have to make it up. Does this make all employees non-exempt?

In the past, being salaried/exempt meant employees had flexibility. As long as they put in over 40 hours per week, the timing of their daily arrivals and departures didn’t matter. Aren’t salaried employees paid for the job, rather the hours? Employees are coming to me, an HR manager, with their concerns, but the manager won’t budge. What should I do?

To read my answer, click here: Can a New Manager Require Exempt Employees to Clock In?

Leave your own answer in the comments!


2018 Worst Employer of the Year

by Evil HR Lady on November 28, 2018

It’s time to vote for the worst employer of the year! Employment Attorney Jon Hyman, over at Ohio Employer Law Blog keeps a running list throughout the year. We narrowed it down a few weeks ago, and now we have the final four!

Go vote here: Worst employee of the year, 2018!


We’ve all seen it before—you get an application from a candidate that is simply overqualified for the position that she’s seeking. After all, why would an applicant with over twenty years of experience be vying for a mid-level role? But here’s the problem with calling someone “overqualified.” At some companies, the term has become an easy way to reject someone without saying “you’re too old.”

Not only is that potentially discriminatory against applicants that are being overlooked simply for their age, but you’re also likely missing out on employees with unique professional backgrounds and life experiences that have a lot to offer your company, regardless of their position.

It turns out, there are actually plenty of reasons why people may want to step down—and it’s up to you to determine whether or not they’re valid. Here are three occasions when you should give overqualified applicants a chance, and three situations in which to avoid them.

To keep reading, click here: Making the Case for–and Against–Hiring Overqualified Workers


When a Headhunter Makes His Profession Look Bad

by Evil HR Lady on November 27, 2018

Jane (all names have been changed) wasn’t looking for a job when a headhunter contacted her about an unnamed position. She’d been at her job for over five years and was thinking about moving on, so she was interested to talk. To her surprise, a couple of hours later a second recruiter contacted her! When it rains, it pours.

Taking this as a sign that it was time to move on Jane set up phone interviews with both. The first conversation with Bob went well. The job seemed exciting and right in her specialty. Then she met with the second headhunter, Steve, and found out that  Bob and Steve were pitching the same position. Steve seemed to have a better relationship with the company and told her he could set up an interview right away.

Headhunters, like Bob and Steve, are paid when they place someone in the position. They aren’t like in-house recruiters who receive a salary. And whichever headhunter presented Jane would be the one to receive the pay–if she got the job.

To keep reading, click here: When a Headhunter Makes His Profession Look Bad


You should never lie on your resume, but if you do, the punishment in the United States tends to be super mild. If you get caught (and there’s always a chance you won’t), you may not get the job, get fired, or be publicly humiliated. But you’re very unlikely to serve time in jail.

The rest of the world doesn’t operate in the same way. An unidentified Greek woman is currently serving prison time because she lied on her resume.

According to The New York Times, she worked for 18 years as a cleaner in a school, when an audit showed that she had “doctored a certificate to show she had completed six years of primary education (roughly elementary level) instead of only five.”

Now, admittedly, actually forging a certificate is more serious than simply lying on a resume, but let’s remember what certificate she forged: an elementary school one.

She’s currently appealing the conviction to the highest court in Greece, and there is an online petition in her favor, with almost 30,000 people supporting her.

To keep reading, click here: This Woman is Serving 10 Years in Prison for Lying to Get a Job


An Expat Thanksgiving

by Evil HR Lady on November 22, 2018

Yesterday, right on schedule, my local expat Facebook group became very focused on one thing: Where to buy last-minute critical ingredients for Thanksgiving.

Turkeys, canned pumpkin, and cranberries were a hot topic of discussion, since the Swiss don’t generally roast turkeys, use canned pumpkin, or have much use for cranberries. Switzerland’s has approximately 2 million foreigners living in her borders–approximately 25 percent of the population. My region is higher because of the pharmaceutical industry which is headquartered in Basel. I have no idea how many of those are Americans, but it seemed like every American was searching for canned pumpkin yesterday.

I, on the other hand, have done this for many years, so I ordered my canned pumpkin in October, and I don’t care for cranberry sauce. My turkey is being delivered today–also ordered in advance rather than risking the stores not having enough. Swiss ovens are small and one year I cooked a 20-pound turkey and it was within a centimeter of the top and sides of my oven. This year, I got a 10 pounder.

To keep reading, click here: An Expat Thanksgiving


Should you threaten to quit to get a raise?

by Evil HR Lady on November 21, 2018

I work in as an Executive Assistant and a Human Resource Officer (kinda). I am just about to graduate with a BS in Psych with an emphasis in HR. I have been gunning for an early promotion because I have cleared my career ladder (completed/accomplished all requirements at top of my career ladder) and I have taken on two other roles, HR and Office Manager. I thought this would be something that would get me promoted early on, especially with the fact that I only received positive feedback about my work from my boss.

There is another person in my office that was given an early promotion but not for any reason other than she said she was given another job offer and was going to leave if she couldn’t get more here. Note that she doesn’t have additional experience, it’s minimal, and she has no degree. She also has not taken on any other work; she sticks to what she was given when she first started.

I have since presented my boss with my case for early promotion; I’m graduating, I’ve taken on two additional job titles, and I have been giving great work to her and the company. She has since told me that I will need to wait until I graduate before I can see anything similar to the promotion that my coworker received. This to me is unfair, and it’s really weighing on me to a point where I’m not sure if I should stick around.

I’d like to question her on this, but I’m not sure as to how to approach her about this… Why can my coworker get an early promotion with having taken on no extra work, no additional experience or education but I cannot no matter how hard I work? Her approach to things like this (many things) is very inconsistent. The rules and getting away with things are very different for everyone.

To read my answer, click here: Should you threaten to quit to get a raise?

Leave your own answer in the comments!