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Old 06-25-2019, 11:24 AM
Location: NYC
12,914 posts, read 8,744,614 times
Reputation: 14182


Many companies today, hire just enough people to get the job done without any additional coverage for people taking time off.

In Europe, companies are required to have available replacement for workers taking vacation. Which is why Europe have a lot of temp workers and not many employees as majority of work outsource overseas due to having a regulation around it.

Here, people take a few sick days and the company may have a problem with that due to lack of coverage.

This issue also causes many to put off their vacation in favor of taking just 1-2 days here and there.
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:09 PM
Location: interior Alaska
4,485 posts, read 3,316,928 times
Reputation: 13786
Originally Posted by oceangaia View Post
But the fact remains, if you can step in and do the job short term as effectively and economically as the person who was doing it long term, then either the job doesn't require a high skill set or there is an abundance of people with those skills.
This might apply in some situations, but it's overly simplistic. For example, let's take a highly qualified university professor. If she's out for three months on maternity leave, it's easy enough to have someone else handle her lectures and office hours. There's a wealth of adjuncts who are competent teachers and public speakers. What's largely being put on hold during that maternity leave are her behind the scenes duties - research, publications, conferences, pursuing grants, departmental planning, supervision of graduate students, etc. Additionally, the substitute likely does not have the same depth of knowledge of the subject, so while they can give prepared lectures and handle undergrad-level instruction, they're not going to be innovating. This professor's department can tick along fine for a while without someone of her caliber, but in the long run, losing her would weaken the program significantly.

It's similar with many other professions requiring expertise - a dentist friend of mine recently took maternity leave. It was straightforward to bring in another dentist to cover her routine appointments. What that substitute dentist wasn't really doing was managing the office, building the business, mentoring the staff, etc. If the day-to-day operations of my friend's practice had fallen apart when she went away for a few weeks, that'd be a sign that the place had been quite poorly run. A well-run organization can keep rolling along on momentum for quite some time. But not forever, and that's where you don't want to lose a proven competent manager permanently just because they're temporarily unavailable.

This general idea doesn't just apply to hoity-toity types of jobs. Our local school secretary, who has held her job for ages, was out for a while. Lots of people can handle routine secretarial duties, yes, and so can step in to answer the phone, direct visitors, fill purchase requests, keep attendance counts, etc. But they don't closely know all the children and their families, nor the faculty and staff - they don't have those personal relationships and knowledge of people that lets them handle situations smoothly and efficiently. They don't have the experience of having handled countless weird situations and emergencies over the years. They don't have the yearly cycle down to a science, allowing them to be proactive about purchasing, scheduling, etc. They aren't a repository of institutional knowledge. The substitutes may be perfectly competent, but they don't bring the same value to the position, and that's what makes the long-term employee worth waiting for and welcoming back.

And this is before you even consider the climate benefits of not treating people like they're disposable. An employee who feels that their employer has loyalty to them is more likely to go the extra mile for the employer. They do better work. Less turnover also means less expense and lost productivity in the long run. And you also have to consider that while some of the people brought in to cover for maternity and illness are subbing/temping/contracting because they're between permanent positions, a lot of them don't want the permanent job - short-term gigs might suit their lifestyle or personal preferences. There's a place for both roles.

Ultimately, almost every worker is replaceable, sure, in that you can hire someone else to step in and do their job. But you lose knowledge and experience when you replace a skillful worker, and you bring expense and disorder, even if you're lucky enough to be hiring another skillful worker.
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:20 PM
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,660 posts, read 3,050,698 times
Reputation: 3112
Originally Posted by fishbrains View Post
I partially agree with your management. Assuming they provide a reasonable amount of leave, you should save some, although employees who use it all should not be penalized. However, if you fail to save the leave then need it, I have little sympathy.

Oh, I agree. But it was in response to the other poster. Also, if we used it all, we know we can't take time off or we had to beg for it being unpaid. Trust me, I get it, but again, writing me up because I only kept 2 days worth in my bank doesn't seem right either.
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Old 06-25-2019, 05:31 PM
Location: SNA=>PDX 2013
2,660 posts, read 3,050,698 times
Reputation: 3112
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
I see both sides of maternity leave. On the one hand, it really does benefit mothers and babies to have that leave. At the same time, it really is a pain in the butt for everyone else.

Even if the job gives unpaid leave, that means they still hold that mother's job open. This is good and all, but the problem comes in when someone one else has to do her job for a year and their job as well, without extra pay. And what happens when the woman decides to get pregnant again a year later and gets another year off (and many women do that)? The company is stuck in perpetual short-handedness and really can't do anything about it. This affects the people covering the position, the company itself, all the other employees, and the customers. Who is going to want to patronize a business that is always short handed?
Don't even get me started on maternity leave. Great for the mom, but maybe we need some laws in place for the people covering them. I covered for my colleague for 3 months, only to have her decide at the end of the 3 months, that she was taking another month off. There were a ton of projects waiting for her return and instead, it was placed on me. And when she came back, I had another month of doing her job because she forgot everything even though she worked here for over 10 years!!! I did 2 full jobs for 5 months straight. I was easily putting in 60 hours/week. I had a mental breakdown. Then, I had to cover for another colleague for another 7 months. I had another mental breakdown. Did I get paid anything extra? Nope. Not one dime (I'm exempt). I also couldn't take any time off for 5 months because there was no one to cover me (preggo lady was my backup). Needless to say, I'm dreading when she gets pregnant again.

Personally, I feel like I should have gotten some sort of huge bonus for all that BS. 2 jobs for 1 full year. The only good thing was that my boss didn't hold me to any of the items on my annual review because I didn't have time to do them.

Last edited by psichick; 06-25-2019 at 06:11 PM..
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