Blog: Sorry boss! How to deal with staff absence

“Sorry boss, I can`t make it in today!” How many times have you heard that dreary comment especially early in the morning and they should have been on shift, half an hour ago? Or worse still, you`ve been woken out of bed, because they have not turned up for their shift.

The excuses are becoming more cunning as the years progress, but my ability to spot these lies has been finely honed after 35-years and you can smell a con from a mile away.

However that shield of cynicism can tend to get in the way, as sometimes, people do actually tell the truth.

Here are a whimsical smattering of excuses that have passed my desk over the last 35-years years at Greenhalgh`s. (Names have been changed to protect the guilty)

“Err sorry David – a bit late this morning, I yawned so much my jaws locked so I have to go to hospital to get it sorted.”

I actually had to give this one 10 – 10 for content and originality, and when I had stopped laughing, I sent the young lady back to the department. Christine is still with us and has just completed forty five years with the business, and still going strong.

“Err…. sorry Dave… me [sic] grandma`s died… I need tomorrow off”

To which I replied: “Argh really sorry to hear that Stuart, which Grandma?” (Now you’ve got them) “My Mum’s Mum…”, “Didn’t she die three years ago? Is she Lazarus?”

This herbert actually wanted to go to Blackpool with his mates – and had he told me the truth from the off I might have considered it. “If you do duck, don’t bother coming back!” said I. He did, and he didn’t, if you catch my drift?

“I need six weeks holiday during the summer David, so that I can visit all my cousins in Mumbai and the surrounding districts.”

Sorry, denied. We do have a policy of extending holidays to three weeks, from two weeks, if the vacation is for this reason or just holidaying in the Americas or the southern hemisphere but not any longer. So the reply I got was:  “Ok, three weeks will be ok”.

Then, after three weeks, the gentleman concerned sent a sick note from a Mumbai hospital, scanned and sent by e-mail to confirm he will be sick for a further three weeks and therefore cannot return. “Very clever I thought. How do people know they are going to be ill for a further three weeks?”

Now I am sure he might have friends in high places at the hospital, but I was sure he didn’t have the same connections at his chosen airline. I asked to see a copy of his air ticket on his return and sure enough, it was booked to return after six weeks. We of course had a difference of opinion on his employment, he saw himself as irreplaceable and I saw him as unemployed.

Thankfully and very seldom, you get the request for absence so they can attend their parent’s funeral, which of course you grant without question, and give all your sincere condolences to the family.

But, every so often, little red flags pop up in your mind and start waving feverishly. Like most businesses we have the correct policies in places for bereavements which kick in, after certain protocols are adhered to.

I just wanted to share with you some of the more elaborate excuses I have experienced for unsanctioned absences. If you have any that can beat this, why don’t you get in touch? Contact me at BB@wrbm.com

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