Employment NewsFlash, May 2011
Flip-flop Fridays and Other Hot Summer Employment Topics
The summer season is right around the corner, which means not only warm weather but also the employee management issues that come along with it. Keep your cool by troubleshooting now for the four most common summer employment topics.
“I’m too sick to work this Friday or Monday.”
Employee absenteeism often runs rampant in summer months. Employers should establish procedures for dealing with both repeat offenders and employees with legitimate absences. Although absences may be approved and recorded by direct supervisors, absences should also be reported to a coordinator responsible for ensuring uniform enforcement of absence policies across the company. In companies where sick time is routinely abused, or where difficulties arise in designating absences for sick versus personal reasons, employers may consider establishing a paid-time-off (PTO) system, which allots a set number of days for employees to use as they choose for both sick and personal time.
“But I also scheduled my vacation for the week of July 4.”
Vacation scheduling may prove challenging during the summer months. Managers should have a consistent procedure for considering vacation time requests, specifically tailored to the particular workforce. Inform employees up front about any limitations on requests, such as policies granting priority to persons with more seniority or in higher-ranking positions. Vacation time, like sick time, should also be tracked by a coordinator responsible for ensuring uniform enforcement.
“This backless shirt sure keeps me cool in the conference room.”
The relaxed summer months also cause employees to stretch the limits of acceptable workplace attire. Employers should review their written dress code to make sure it is understandable and makes sense for their workforce. A dress code should be as simple as possible and need not list every type of unacceptable clothing. But if a workforce tends to wear a particular item of clothing the company deems undesirable, then the code should specifically mention that item. Written dress codes should also contain a disclaimer requiring employees to immediately raise with the appropriate supervisor any requests to deviate from the code for religious or other reasons. Circulate the dress code to all employees at the start of the summer, both as a reminder to current employees and to inform summer hires of the appropriate attire for their new workplace.
“A motivated employee who will work for free? Sounds too good to be true.”
Summer hires provide a good source of labor for employers. They do, however, pose legal risks that catch many employers off guard. From minimum wage and youth employment restrictions, to workers’ compensation and harassment claims, the risks associated with summer hires can be minimized with thoughtful planning. Guidance for establishing a successful summer hire program can be found here.
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