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AIBU to think she

(30 Posts)
WhatWot Fri 03-Nov-17 22:51:45

I manage X at work. X has 2 kids and have no family support, his wife is from abroad and is a SAHM. X's wife was diagnosed with PND and is very dependent on X. He often gets a call from her, and he would have to go home pronto because she is not well and can't cope. My boss has been asking questions about X being MIA when we're incredibly busy and needs every hand on deck. I am a little soft that I don't always require him to take half a day off if his wife calls. But now he's out of annual leave days and she is still calling him whenever to get home right then, I am a little annoyed at her. X himself looks embarassed and said another day another drama. My tolerance has reached its limit especially that I have to cover for him and do his job whenever she calls him home. AIBU to make him take days off everytime she calls for 'emergency'? This means when he runs out like now, he will have to take unpaid leave which is a little mean sad

Kezzamo Fri 03-Nov-17 22:55:35

No that's not mean. Sit him down and talk about how it's going to work. Does he need to work part time? Flexible working? Are there any support mechanisms you can put in place? Occupational health, welfare etc.

VimFuego101 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:07:38

I think you lay yourself open to accusations of favoritism from your other team members if you don't enforce the same rules for everyone - you should follow company procedure.

WhatWot Fri 03-Nov-17 23:20:28

Thanks for all the replies. I agree about favouritism. I follow the rules with other members of my team, it's only because I partly feel sorry for X, it's not like he has a choice really, but I really think his wife should understand the business has limited tolerance. She can't just call him home on a whim, but it's back to them not having any family support so I am not sure what they will do if she is struggling.

Justgivemesomepeace Fri 03-Nov-17 23:40:55

Every time he had gone home would have been unpaid where I work. Or he would be given the option of working the time back. They are supporting him by allowing him to go. It isn't sustainable though and has to be managed consistently. I would have a documented conversation each time around the level of support he can expect and what form that may take (unpaid leave/workback/temporary shift change/reduced hours/occupational health if he is stressed by the situation.) He has a contractual obligation to attend work so he needs to ensure he is dealing with the situation at home. what support is his wife getting? From the gp, counselling, support groups etc. It must be awful for him but it will pass so in the meanwhile he needs support. Be clear what this looks like and they need to be demonstrating that they are making efforts to resolve things at their end too.

RavenclawRealist Fri 03-Nov-17 23:53:33

Allowing him to leave without taking leave be it annual/carers/compassionate as your company allows or making the time up later if that is appropriate. Is opening yourself and the business up to issues from elsewhere. In my experience if x doesn't have to take leave to support their wife then it breeds resentment, why should a have to use leave to support a sick parent or b to help with childcare for thier children and so it goes on.

Look at what can be done within policy to support x flexible working buying extra leave ect but after that x and wife need to make a plan between them it's not your responsibility!

Its nice you are sympathetic towards x but not his wife's fault she is ill!! It's a shitty situation but I think expecting someone with PND to think about a partners impact on a business is a bit ridiculous!

WhatWot Sat 04-Nov-17 00:16:49

RavenclawRealist Believe me I was sympathetic at first, but it's honestly getting more and more often. The bottom line is I don't want him to lose his job, but if she asks him to leave frequently like now, I am afraid he might.

VioletCharlotte Sat 04-Nov-17 00:21:11

It obviously depends on your company and what sort of what you do, but if this was someone in my team I'd look at what I could do to support him by allowing him to work flexibly. Is he able to come in early to make time up? Or if he leaves early, can he work from home later in the evening?

It sounds like you think he's good at his job, apart from this issue, and like pp have said, he can't help the fact his wife is ill. If you can support him through this time, you'll find he's a lot more engaged and productive in his job going forwards and you'll get a lot more out of him.

Bunnychopz Sat 04-Nov-17 00:24:39

Can he work from home?

Bunnychopz Sat 04-Nov-17 00:25:27

Yes maybe flexible working to make hours up.

WhatWot Sat 04-Nov-17 00:25:53

He often said he would after she called but ended up babysitting the kids.

Bunnychopz Sat 04-Nov-17 00:27:22

Alternatively is there a pattern? Is it specifically a certain afternoon? Can he work longer days and a shorter day on her difficult day

Bunnychopz Sat 04-Nov-17 00:28:07

Can he make the time to working from home once the kids are in bed?

RavenclawRealist Sat 04-Nov-17 00:32:45

WhatWot like I said it's a shitty situation, but she may not be thinking logically at the moment. The impact of him leaving work to help possibly hasn't even entered her radar!

You sound like you have done your best to support x till now which was very understanding, but it's not his wife fault she isn't well. They do need to find a solution that doesn't impact his work absolutely, and I do see you are worried about his job, but it's unlikely his wife is able to think that logically at the moment! You can only support so much the rest is up to them!

Viviennemary Sat 04-Nov-17 00:44:26

No this situation cannot be allowed to continue. It really isn't fair to other workers when somebody is allowed this much leeway. They need to make arrangements for the children to be looked after by somebody else if his wife can't cope. You've done your best and now it's up to them both to find a solution.

I agree this breeds resentment. What if somebody has a parent with dementia would they be allowed time off to look after them. And people with other family problems.

RhodaBorrocks Sat 04-Nov-17 01:29:08

Do you have a policy for employees who are Carers? It sounds like he is acting as an unpaid Carer for his wife. ACAS has guidance on this:

m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1362

He should be entitled to unpaid leave, although you can give him the option you suggested above too. Ultimately that is his choice. Flexible working would also encompass things like altered start/finish times, home working, reduced or compressed hours and making time up.

You need to tread carefully and make sure you do everything by the book so you're not at risk if any discrimination tribunals - if he were to bring a case it would be indirect discrimination based on his association with his wife with MH issues.

mslevine86 Sat 04-Nov-17 02:07:28

Tough situation OP. It's hard in this situation as emotions do come in to play especially when it's a special case like this. But you have to follow the company policy to the letter, and that means sitting down with him to explain exactly where he is in terms of how many days he is allowed to take. I had this with an employee I managed, they had 2 kids and a husband who's mindset was that it was her responsibility to take time off if the kids were on holiday, sick, etc. She was even off with stress at one point linked to her going back full time and then struggling with school pick ups, after school activities etc. Eventually she had no holidays or carers days left (maximum 3 a year) and she wanted to take loads of extra days unpaid leave. I had to put my foot down and stop feeling sorry for her as the amount of time she was out of the office meant that she wasn't actually full time and she wasn't getting her work tasks down so I had to pick them up- staying late unpaid overtime, and others in the office were getting very pissed off at the special treatment. What you need to do is offer support, ask him what he needs to be able to support his wife but still do his job as he is contracted. Could he work flexible hours - a long lunch so he can go home and help his wife for an hour? Would that fit in with his role? This all needs to be fully documented in letters and ran past HR so that if it did sadly get to the point where his commitment to the job wasn't viable it wouldn't fall back on you. Remind him he has to do X number of hours and complete X tasks as that is what you are paying him for. I've seen other people start to take the piss when they don't need to as they see someone else doing the same job being 'let off. It's your responsibility to manage this situation in terms of how it impacts the work he does. Is he struggling mentally? It must be hard for him knowing he may be called upon at short notice. In some workplaces counselling etc can extend to families too, is this an option you could consider with there being no family support apart from him?

CocoPuffsinGodMode Sat 04-Nov-17 02:53:10

what I’d be a bit concerned as to how this situation is reflecting on you. You say that your boss has been asking questions and I take it when you say you don’t always make him take leave this means he is being paid by the company even though he’s not there.

As a manager you’re obviously required to manage people in order that they perform as required by the company. Now that doesn’t mean you behave like a drone and make no allowances for personal issues but it does mean that any allowances you make are in accordance with company procedures and guidelines. I’d be concerned that you’ve gone outside of what your role allows you to do.

At this stage I would be speaking to HR to see what accommodations can be made and then present these to him. Be clear about what the company can and can’t facilitate and then stick to that. Right now if HR or your superiors were to take issue with his attendance/productivity, he can quite rightly say “but Whatwot said it was ok, I didn’t know there was a problem” which I imagine they won’t be too happy about.

SabineUndine Sat 04-Nov-17 03:05:11

I’m wondering how well her PND is being treated if this is increasing in frequency. Is there nobody else who can support her?

CustardDoughnutsRule Sat 04-Nov-17 03:16:00

I think you need to be careful putting this on a public forum, however anonymised.

Could he adjust his work hours so he starts earlier or can make up hours in the evening? It is worth formalising it now and looking to see what can be tweaked to work better for both "sides". Done sympathetically, more structure could be more helpful to him than the current situation. Be wary that making him take time unpaid may actually reduce the guilt he feels over taking time off and mean he does fewer hours overall. But you need a long term perspective really, and HR advice on best practice.

TheDowagerCuntess Sat 04-Nov-17 03:24:43

I'm slightly amazed that he's not asking to take the time as unpaid.

Any particular reason he thinks he's entitled to more leave than everyone else?

MynewnameisKy Sat 04-Nov-17 03:54:59

You should also sign post him to support. Maybe some input from health visitor or Surestart.

Does your workplace have a counselling helpline?

masonmum12 Sat 04-Nov-17 06:24:03

Can you reduce his hours temporarily? That way you can employ someone else, both part time.
If he was a woman I am sure things would be put into place but we have to understand that even though it's his wife with PND It will affect him also.

WhatWot Sat 04-Nov-17 07:27:33

Thanks for all the replies. I will talk to my manager about this if we can accommodate him to work on weekends. It is starting to reflect on me because I am not going by the company guideline anymore as I dont want to get him in trouble, I dont feelbcomfortable having two rules for people. Again, thanks for all your input. Really appreciate it.

StealthPolarBear Sat 04-Nov-17 07:42:06

"If you can support him through this time, you'll find he's a lot more engaged and productive in his job going forwards and you'll get a lot more out of him."
I don't tend to find that the case tbh

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