WWYD - I hired a WOHM and now....

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
WWYD - I hired a WOHM and now....
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 2:35pm

I have a situation I am struggling with and thought the ladies here might weigh in and help me decide how to proceded.

I recently hired several new people. One woman has been working for me for 2 weeks, but in that time she has been out 3 days and coming in late/leaving early several others. She is a salary employee so the hours are not set in stone (but I do expect 40 in a week) and the days she has missed have been for: a well-child appointment, husband's Dr. appointment, home with sick kids (different, not consequitive days)

The "boss" side of me is concerned that this employee is just not going to be reliable and able to put in the hours I need her to. I hired her for a senior position and am expecting her to be able to self-start and manage her time independently. All told, she has barely worked half the time she has been hired for. If this work pattern continues, I will need to replace her so that I am not paying someone full-time for part-time work.

The mom side of me really feels for her. She has 3 kids, the youngest is 6 months old. She and her DH were both laid off several months ago and she was the first to get an offer, so he is supposed to be at home with the 2 youngest kids. Her 6 month old has had a rough transition to a bottle and her being gone and, to top it off, she and her DH are sharing a car (which is why she had to miss work for the appointments). The days she has missed have been for "good" reasons. I certainly would not hold it against someone if they got the flu right after starting a new job and missed a week of work. And I know how hard it can be to juggle small kids and a job. Someone giving you just a little break can make a huge difference and this family sound like they need it. We spoke about this after the first week (she missed 1 day and came late/left early 3 other days) and she was very emotional and said she did not want to lose the job. I told her that I understood that she was going through a transition time, but that I expected 40 hours, etc, and that we would talk in a few weeks to assess the situation.

Now, the end of week two and more of the same (missed 2 days, erratic hours the other 3).
I am willing to give her a month and see if things settle down, but I am honestly not optimistic. It will probably end up being a waste of both her and my time. I've been burned before for giving people "breaks".

Any suggestions, thoughts?

PS - To the old-timers....Hi!! I haven't been around much lately, work, kids, husband, you know the routine. Hope things are well.


Avatar for cmerin
Registered: 01-20-2004
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 2:47pm

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2006
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 3:53pm
I think you've handled it exactly as I would have. As a woman, you may empathize with her situation, but as an employee, she has not demonstrated that she is up to the task of performing the job at this point in her life. Unless there is a sudden turnaround (and there may be if she is serious about the job and now understands your rules what she can't get way with), she has to go.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-10-2007
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 5:20pm

There are three things I'd look at:

1 -- is her work getting done? If so, is she the one doing it (i.e. others are not having to do it for her)? If both answers are yes, then you don't have a valid reason to "discipline" her on this front.

2 -- Is she in compliance with company leave policies? If so, then you don't have a valid reason to "discipline" her on this front.

3 -- Do you suspect her of fraud (i.e. lying about the cause of her leave to be able to use sick leave)? If no, then you don't have a valid reason to "discipline" her on this front.

What I would do is just talk to her. Express your concern. And document everything.

Edited 7/13/2007 5:21 pm ET by son.of.adam
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2003
Fri, 07-13-2007 - 7:24pm

I think you've handled it well so far. I'm curious- is her husband still unemployed? I'd be a lot less sympathetic if he was, since he should be taking care of the children. The car is a tough one, but couldn't he drop her off at work and then take the kids to their appointments?

Avatar for myshkamouse
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 07-14-2007 - 12:41am

I'd tell her your concerns. She has three children, but she needs to be there full time for you, her employer, as she was hired to do. If she can't do this, you need to replace her. I work with lots of moms....one of my partners has a 4 year old, and 8 year old and a 14 year old quadraplegic daughter. She manages to be in the office every time she is meant to be, travels fairly heavily to fullfill her role, etc. etc.
I have 4 year old twins, I'm 5 1/2 months pregnant, and I make all my work obligations work. While I have sympathy for her situation, I wouldnt pay for it were I in your shoes.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Sat, 07-14-2007 - 9:12am
I'd give her a month. If it doesn't cease, I'd let her go.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2007
Sat, 07-14-2007 - 9:13am
I agree. I thought her excuses were lame also. She could have found her way to work if she really wanted to be there.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 07-14-2007 - 9:30am
I wouldn't be too optimistic either.

VickiSiggy.jpg picture by mamalahk

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Sat, 07-14-2007 - 10:29am

Hmmm...1 - No, the work is not getting done terribly well or efficiently. She is giving it a try, but I can't say I am blown away by her performace yet. Which is a huge dissapointment because she came very highly recommended.

2 - Since she has only been working 2 weeks, she does not have this much sick time on the books. She will have to take non-paid days off. But I certainly would not discipline someone for legitimate sick days.

3 - I have no idea how "legitimate" the days off are. IU agree to an extent that she should have been able to rearrange her days better so that a well-child visit did not cost an entire day of work. But I can't put myself into someone's personal life. If she says she needs the day for a doctor's appointment, I have to take her at her word.

But, she is at-will for the first 6 months, so I don't need a disciplinary reason, per se, to let her go.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Sat, 07-14-2007 - 10:34am

I do agree that if she is the primary breadwinner (which I gather from what she has told me, but I have not delved too deeply into her husband's work sitution - he called her twice with questions about the baby during our 30 minute meeting, though, so I assume he is at home with the kids) she should be making every effort to meet the obligations of her job.

I'll stop short of saying that "the job should come first" because that brings up echos of many past converstions here and I would never begrudge a working mom's deciion to take her child to a doctor's appointment or stay home if a child was sick.

However....I think it is a serious problem if the DH's inability/unwillingness to care for sick kids, etc means that this mom loses her job.