FLANGING 66

Attendance policy is not covered by the contract.  Everyone is expected to come to work every day.  So this is set by company rules.  Which changes all the time.  At present, we are allowed to miss 8 days a year.  We still have to have a good reason.  We can’t just call in and say we’re staying home.  It has to be a sickness, a doctor’s appointment, yada yada.  Some reason.  As long as you keep it under 8 days, nothing much is said.  Then comes the discipline.  If you miss a 9th day in one year, you will be given a written warning.  After that comes 3 days off.  This has never made any sense to me.  It seems more of a reward if the guy doesn’t want to come into work anyway.  Then comes 6 months probation.  Which means if you miss a day during your probation you can be fired.  ‘Can’ needs to be stressed.  These are company rules, so they can be arbitrary.  If you are a good worker other than you miss work a lot, and the company may not be ready to give up on you, they can give you another chance.  It’s totally up to the company.

You can apply for a leave of absence.  Some of the reasons for a leave is spelled out in the contract.  Such as bereavement leave.  A death in the immediate family is usually 3 paid days off, with 1 paid day off to attend the funeral of a more distant relative.  Yet I have never heard of the company denying a request for more time off (unpaid) for the death of a spouse or child or parent.  These aren’t heartless people, and if more time off is required for mourning, no problem.

Military leaves are always awarded.  If you are in the National Guard or the Reserves and are called up, the company won’t contest it.  You will still have a job whenever you return.

Jury duty also is covered.  The company even makes up the difference between jury duty pay, which is paltry, and whatever you would have earned for working an 8-hour day.  And if you are called in for jury duty only to find they have settled out of court, you don’t go in to work.  You have earned a paid day off by doing your patriotic duty and not trying to shirk it, so enjoy.

You can also apply for a medical leave.  Say you need surgery.  Not only will they allow you to take off for this, because they want healthy employees, but the company carries an insurance policy that will pay you nearly half your wages while you are off.  But now you are dealing with an insurance agency and not the company, so they have strict schedules of how much time it takes for a person to recover from certain surgeries.  Still, you can’t return to work until your doctor clears you.  But I’ve been off twice for surgeries, and there have been no problems.  I was paid promptly while I was off, and I returned to work as soon as the doctor allowed.  The insurance company and Brighton just doesn’t want you turning a medical leave that should take 3 months to recover from turning into a 6-month semi-paid vacation.

Family leaves are a recent development.  They are supposed to be for the purpose of taking care of an ailing family member.  They are one of those things that sounds splendid on paper, but are horrible in practice.  I’ve seen family leaves terribly abused. And now there is talk of forcing companies to pay for family leave.  That doesn’t seem fair at all.  I and my wife moved in with my ailing parents to help take care of them.  After my father died, my wife quit her job to stay home and take care of my mother.  It was our decision.  Neither of us would have expected her company, which was Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, an insurance company of all things, to pay her for doing this.  Paid family leave seems excessive to me.  And the requirements for taking family leave needs to be more restrictive, to prevent the law from being abused.  Family leave could be a good thing, if not abused and overused and too much of financial liability for companies.  But that is just my opinion and, like other parts of my body, everyone has one.

This seems to be going on and on.  Maybe I’ll finish up with contracts in the next post.

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