Adult Daycare: Dealing with Employees

Fwiffo

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Had a day fighting one of the regional offices demanding that their client expected a global Covid procedure and track and trace system for all our employees, preferably with an App. This particular office is obsessed with Apps.

It got to the stage where they resorted to ''Bottom line is....'' and accusing us of deliberately exposing people to the virus on the basis that one of our employees caught the virus in Italy and was ''contaminated'' spreading it around on purpose.

The Covid protocols in Italy are extremely tight with track and trace provided by local Health Authorities. Can you imagine a company interjecting and imposing an additional layer on top of that with their own processes that could be in conflict with local legislation and infringing on medical privacy laws? Sharing someone's medical information across borders in conflict with GDPR? Called BS on that.

Well at least that's a bit better than when this subsidiary started moaning about costs to set up their people to work remotely. Sure when we needed to evacuate the office it was do anything and everything possible. When they got the bill they nickel and dimed discrepancies down to the 4 figure level including only paying for overtime for full time staff who assisted whilst considering the regular hours as sunk cost they would have incurred anyway. I said I'd move their people back into the office so they can infect and kill each other for free rather than debate this absurdity.
 

Fwiffo

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Whenever there's a scandal in my sector, you can be sure one of The Big Four audited the accounts.

We’re mandated to use them. We used another one with four letters before and the contract changes every few years who is the supplier of choice for audits.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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We’re mandated to use them. We used another one with four letters before and the contract changes every few years who is the supplier of choice for audits.

I'm mandated not to. And that was one reason we relocated the ultimate Group companies to the USA. Long story, but it involved Dutch auditors needing to fly to every global business unit, or alternatively, use one of the Big Four.

Meanwhile, the Accountant has been elusive these last few days. But he had some trouble with his son's girlfriend from Hong Kong being detained in Zurich under some Swiss Air screw up. So I left him alone.

Wish I never made contact with him yesterday, as it's messed up my sleeping, as he's panic with the EBITDA Q3 as we've only made Euros 6000 profit in that period. Well, he thinks its a cock-up somewhere and some invoicing is missed being recorded.

I think he's right, but in Q3 most of the business has been generated by those super tight US$ contracts where I rolled the dice on a strong $ against the Euro. Oh dear, oh dear.
 

Fwiffo

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People coming back to work early from coronavirus because they don't want to go into short term disability.
 

Journeyman

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Staff where I work are supposed to come back to the office unless they have a medical reason for doing so.

One of my staff - whose work output has been abysmal over the past six months and who has been counselled as a result - has produced a doctor's letter stating that he (or a family member close to him) is vulnerable and so he can't come back to work and has to continue to work from home.

That may be OK, except that a couple of other staff members are friends with him on social media, so they know that over the past six months, he's been going to the casino, going out to dinner, going to the rugby with tens of thousands of other people, going to cafes and so on.

So he expects us to believe that it is too risky for him to come to work, where we are all socially distanced, we wash our hands obsessively, we have cleaners come in to wipe down handles an surfaces and so on, but that it is OK to go out several times a week to mingle with large groups of strangers.
 

belinmad

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Staff where I work are supposed to come back to the office unless they have a medical reason for doing so.

One of my staff - whose work output has been abysmal over the past six months and who has been counselled as a result - has produced a doctor's letter stating that he (or a family member close to him) is vulnerable and so he can't come back to work and has to continue to work from home.

That may be OK, except that a couple of other staff members are friends with him on social media, so they know that over the past six months, he's been going to the casino, going out to dinner, going to the rugby with tens of thousands of other people, going to cafes and so on.

So he expects us to believe that it is too risky for him to come to work, where we are all socially distanced, we wash our hands obsessively, we have cleaners come in to wipe down handles an surfaces and so on, but that it is OK to go out several times a week to mingle with large groups of strangers.

In a different but somewhat similar context, we had the case of an employee who, while claiming active treatment for a debilitating, life-threatening condition, and being on semi-permanent sick leave, was discovered on social media to be participating in an athletic competition. As a result, we fired the individual, and they sued us for unfair dismissal. We won the case, but the reputational damage was not trivial ('big financial services firm fires sick individual while they are recovering').

I don't see this "loophole" for employees to exist for long, or be sustainable. We are however looking at new hybrid employment contracts and associated guidelines for employees who want to work from home >60% of their time.
 

Journeyman

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I don't see this "loophole" for employees to exist for long, or be sustainable.

Yes, I agree. I suspect that in the not-too-distant future, larger employers, or government organisations, here in Australia will start requiring employees to either get a second opinion, or to see an approved medical practitioner from a list provided by the employer so as to help weed out the genuine cases from those who are taking advantage of the situation and who happen to know a friendly doctor.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Yes, I agree. I suspect that in the not-too-distant future, larger employers, or government organisations, here in Australia will start requiring employees to either get a second opinion, or to see an approved medical practitioner from a list provided by the employer so as to help weed out the genuine cases from those who are taking advantage of the situation and who happen to know a friendly doctor.
Large organisations have inherent in-built weaknesses in certain employment jurisdictions. That's why where possible keep business units small to avoid social loafing.

Here in the Netherlands things got so bad that you could take 2 years off for stubbing your toe and it became a badge of honour to go off with burn out. Large organisations had permanently excessive amounts of people off.

The Work Doctor system was engaged to remedy this. But they're not doctors they're coordinators sending you meaningless reports on recovery times, you're not even allowed to know what someone is off with.

I had a case that went to court. The person during their sick leave had been posting on Facebook her daily dog walks and comments on getting pissed. I could not use any of that in court. I won the court case for the 2 years sick leave, which means they needed to pay me it all back, plus lawyer fees.

Pyrrhic victory, as the court case only covers that 2 years. How it works here, you are responsible for ''2 years + 10 years''. And they're separate legally.

How that translates: as an employer you are responsible for 12 years payment (reduced to 70% of salary after the first year) if someone falls sick and there is a possibility they will get well again. You have to wait for the Work Doctor system to tell you they're permanently sick and will not return to work in which case the government takes over with disabled benefit.

The case in point, the person emigrated to the USA and we paid their salary for 6 years and they could return back to their job at any moment having declared they were better.

I had insurance to cover the payments and the insurance company didn't want to stop payments so I just surrendered to the system.

A couple of months ago they declared the person would not get better, so she was no longer in our employment and would receive permanent sick benefit.

My employment lawyer has warned me: never, ever ask your employees to work overtime. Specifically, and she is a lady, I was warned to never get a young female graduate to work regular overtime as the risk of burn out is high and I/the business would be responsible for destroying her future career. And we would need to cough of the bucks big time.
 
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Rambo

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My employment lawyer has warned me: never, ever ask your employees to work overtime. Specifically, and she is a lady, I was warned to never get a young female graduate to work regular overtime as the risk of burn out is high and I/the business would be responsible for destroying her future career. And we would need to cough of the bucks big time.
this system sounds amazing. if it weren't for your ridiculous language i'd consider moving there and taking up menial employment.
 

Fwiffo

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this system sounds amazing. if it weren't for your ridiculous language i'd consider moving there and taking up menial employment.

But maybe that's why they are uncompetitive. USA. Number one in everything.
 

güero

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this system sounds amazing. if it weren't for your ridiculous language i'd consider moving there and taking up menial employment.
You could also go to France, Germany, Italy and have a VERY VERY easy employment life, France probably being the best because of the overall limits on work time, pension regulations etc. Alas they all have ridiculous languages, so that would be the bullet to bite.
 

belinmad

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You could also go to France, Germany, Italy and have a VERY VERY easy employment life, France probably being the best because of the overall limits on work time, pension regulations etc. Alas they all have ridiculous languages, so that would be the bullet to bite.

Portugal pretty good too. Impossible to fire anyone there.
And yes, I mean, what's with the rest of the world, refusing to speak American!?!?
 

Pimpernel Smith

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this system sounds amazing. if it weren't for your ridiculous language i'd consider moving there and taking up menial employment.
It is the ultimate farmers language. If the business is international everything will likely be conducted in English.
But maybe that's why they are uncompetitive. USA. Number one in everything.
It's getting easier and more cost effective to make people redundant in both the Netherlands and Italy. The Netherlands it's a lot less expensive in terms of redundancy packages with new limits set, particularly for those at my level. If all else fails you can negotiate by saying you'll spend the next 2 years off with nervous exhaustion. You can't make anyone redundant if they're off sick.

France's work culture is very strange, they're militant and yet, you cannot question your boss, or put alternatives forward for discussion. You're there to back them up 100% and they'll get rid if you quick if you question or show initiative outside your remit. Like in Italy, if you're a manager, director, or owner of industrial facilities you have big status unheard of in the UK.

Of our European offices the Italian one is the least productive benchmarked against my office they're 3 to 4 times less productive. So one person in the Dutch office does the work of 3 Italians.
Portugal pretty good too. Impossible to fire anyone there.
And yes, I mean, what's with the rest of the world, refusing to speak American!?!?

Hence they get paid peasant wages down there.
 

Fwiffo

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Random questions from post RIF meetings:

"Why did you fire single parents from this country and not foreign workers?"

"Why did you keep my co-workers employed till I don't have a chance at a pay increase? My cost of living is going up."

"Why are you not reducing your own salary? Why aren't you being fired? Why are you still getting paid?"
 

ballmouse

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I'm not even sure I understand what #2 is getting at.

And it's sad you get grown people who ask questions like this. I have a hard time imagining anyone who would ask these questions and be a good performer.
 

Journeyman

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"Why did you keep my co-workers employed till I don't have a chance at a pay increase? My cost of living is going up."

I'm not even sure I understand what #2 is getting at.

Sounds like the person was complaining that his/her co-workers weren't fired earlier, which (by their logical reasoning) would have freed up money to give him/her a pay rise.

The person doesn't seem to have twigged to the fact that if people were being fired, there's every chance that they would have been amongst that number, and thus wouldn't be getting paid at all...
 

Fwiffo

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I'm not even sure I understand what #2 is getting at.

And it's sad you get grown people who ask questions like this. I have a hard time imagining anyone who would ask these questions and be a good performer.

Since we moved these meetings to a virtual setting the questions are submitted anonymously.

That said the overall lack of professional maturity is something I definitely won't miss at the end of my time here. Our CEO calls it dealing with a unionized work force (there is no union or worker's council).

Sounds like the person was complaining that his/her co-workers weren't fired earlier, which (by their logical reasoning) would have freed up money to give him/her a pay rise.

The person doesn't seem to have twigged to the fact that if people were being fired, there's every chance that they would have been amongst that number, and thus wouldn't be getting paid at all...

We're all in it together is clearly not this person's motto.

There were the usual smattering of questions why they must use their home Internet, electricity, etc to subsidize working remotely. On the flipside I am sure these are the same people who moaned at the end of February we weren't evacuating them out of the office.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Since we moved these meetings to a virtual setting the questions are submitted anonymously.

That said the overall lack of professional maturity is something I definitely won't miss at the end of my time here. Our CEO calls it dealing with a unionized work force (there is no union or worker's council).



We're all in it together is clearly not this person's motto.

There were the usual smattering of questions why they must use their home Internet, electricity, etc to subsidize working remotely. On the flipside I am sure these are the same people who moaned at the end of February we weren't evacuating them out of the office.

Accepting anonymous questions appears a rather dubious approach in these times.
 

Dropbear

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I was running an exercise once where staff satisfaction and improvement suggestions were collected via an anonymous form. I knew we were going to get roasted by one team of lazy pricks who were seething with resentment. I submitted a couple dozen positive forms to balance the negativity out. My boss even read some of them out while publicly praising our achievements. It was pretty funny.
 

Dropbear

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One of my peers just cracked-up and walked off the job. They are calling it ‘stress leave’ and saying that if he gets in touch, they will be happy to discuss outcomes in which he stays on, but we all know it’s a career ender.

I’m assuming someone has done a wellness check and he isn’t dead.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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One of my peers just cracked-up and walked off the job. They are calling it ‘stress leave’ and saying that if he gets in touch, they will be happy to discuss outcomes in which he stays on, but we all know it’s a career ender.

I’m assuming someone has done a wellness check and he isn’t dead.

The breaking point...did they show any signs of being close to it?

Back in the day, we had one guy who flipped and drove his car around the car park like he was a rally driver. When they rang his house his wife told them he'd had a full nervous breakdown and wouldn't be back in for the duration.

The material controllers in the fabrication shops were under immense pressure all the time. It was a nightmare job to feed production. Management were real tossers. One guy's wife rang the MD to complain what were they doing to her husband to make him come home and spend 20 minutes in the wardrobe closed each evening to come down. That's a true story. She should have poured him an extra large whisky.

Another breakdown story, although I didn't witness it: the engineer flipped his lid and was found jerking off in the waste paper bin.

It can happen.
 

Dropbear

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Eh, the guy is probably close to retirement and has a full military pension.

I guess he just had enough. I wasn’t working with him that closely to see any signs, but he the few times I spoke to him on the phone he didn’t seem to be handling the stress very well.

I wish him well. Right now I’m more concerned about losing my XO to the newly created vacancy.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Eh, the guy is probably close to retirement and has a full military pension. I guess he just had enough. I wish him well. Right now I’m more concerned about losing my XO to the newly created vacancy.

That's interesting, as one of my issues is older guys who've reached retirement age and continue working as freelance consultants. I've noticed a trend where some, not many, can have character changes and turn a little bit nasty. Some continue trying to work too long well in to their late seventies.

My staff, generally love them, so they will give them work that should be going to younger people. I have several who like fire side chats with me for 30 minutes to an hour, so I need to filter my calls which is a difficult in lockdown with me the only one in the office.

67-72 is the age you definitely need to retire, even if you think you've got it.
 

Dropbear

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We get a lot of people who do their 20 in the military or law enforcement then claim their pension while transitioning into emergency management. Some actually stick around long enough to get two pensions, but most drift off after 5-10 years or when they get close to 60.
 

Journeyman

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I've noticed a trend where some, not many, can have character changes and turn a little bit nasty. Some continue trying to work too long well in to their late seventies.

One of my older colleagues is ex-military. He's now well into his sixties and has a number of health issues. Sometimes he's in good spirits but a lot of the time he's grumpy and really doesn't seem to like being at work or having anything to do with people. He's absolutely shocking at dealing with people on the phone and only slightly better via e-mail.

However, I think that he refuses to retire because he has no family (nor, I suspect, any real friends) and if he retires he probably realises that he'll go downhill quickly and die.
 

Dropbear

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My uncle who retired out of the army turned into a horrible old grump. It used to be kind of funny when he would play the part of the crotchety old guy saying the things you shouldn’t say. I think he enjoyed the license old age gave him, but at some point he became the persona and it is no longer funny.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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One of my older colleagues is ex-military. He's now well into his sixties and has a number of health issues. Sometimes he's in good spirits but a lot of the time he's grumpy and really doesn't seem to like being at work or having anything to do with people. He's absolutely shocking at dealing with people on the phone and only slightly better via e-mail.

However, I think that he refuses to retire because he has no family (nor, I suspect, any real friends) and if he retires he probably realises that he'll go downhill quickly and die.
Have you noticed, a lot of those older guys can't handle large volumes of emails and revert to type, by ignoring 99% of them and finding something in their comfort zone they can latch onto and spend all day on it, whilst Babylon is burning.

One of our clients has recently retired. He had a cushy head of department job in one of the engineering firms. Now he's just another retiree looking to fill his time and I'm told he has got bad depression.

If you've got no family, or friends then what are you going to do in retirement? I suppose you can always call in an escort every now and again. Or if you're into golf or have some time consuming hobby you'll be happy.

You can retire to Spain or somewhere, but those places out of season are pretty grim.
 

formby002

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Have you noticed, a lot of those older guys can't handle large volumes of emails and revert to type, by ignoring 99% of them and finding something in their comfort zone they can latch onto and spend all day on it, whilst Babylon is burning.

One of our clients has recently retired. He had a cushy head of department job in one of the engineering firms. Now he's just another retiree looking to fill his time and I'm told he has got bad depression.

If you've got no family, or friends then what are you going to do in retirement? I suppose you can always call in an escort every now and again. Or if you're into golf or have some time consuming hobby you'll be happy.

You can retire to Spain or somewhere, but those places out of season are pretty grim.
Gardening and reading for a start! What's wrong with these people.
 

Dropbear

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I was complaining to a colleague about the amount of work I have to get through this weekend while I am ‘off’ and said that I feel like I’m about to ‘pull a XXXXX’ with the XXXX being the name of the guy that snapped and abandoned his post. We were crying/laughing. Sad legacy for an otherwise good guy and hard worker.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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I was complaining to a colleague about the amount of work I have to get through this weekend while I am ‘off’ and said that I feel like I’m about to ‘pull a XXXXX’ with the XXXX being the name of the guy that snapped and abandoned his post. We were crying/laughing. Sad legacy for an otherwise good guy and hard worker.

I've decided to take the full weekend off, but I reckon I will be back in Sunday. You need some R&R.

Lost that contract I had under bid. That was good. The email came in with the Subject Header: Notice of Contract Award. But not for me. Either that's gone to the current contract holder who they've renegotiated with, on the strength of my low rates, or that of rival of mine, who's based it on using internships. They'll have the contract for about 3 months before having it taken off them. Anyway, don't want it and glad I didn't get it. I was looking forward to working with this person I was going to bring on board, but ultimately just more burden on me.
 
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