Controlling Absences

May 1, 2007

My business manager is paid on salary. She has been leaving work early at least once a week for four weeks straight. I don’t want to nit-pick, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of. I don't like the principle of it. I understand that there are things that need to get done during the week and everyone gets sick. I don’t feel I have an alternative and do not feel justified saying, “No, you cannot leave.” I think I am generous in the amount of time I am willing to give them off.

Question: My business manager is paid on salary. She has been leaving work early at least once a week for four weeks straight. I don’t want to nit-pick, but I also don't want to be taken advantage of. I don't like the principle of it. I understand that there are things that need to get done during the week and everyone gets sick. I don’t feel I have an alternative and do not feel justified saying, “No, you cannot leave.” I think I am generous in the amount of time I am willing to give them off.

Answer: You are well within your rights to not have her leave early every week. At the same time, most managers do put in long hours. What you need is an open airing.

Get your manager alone and say, “Look, I don’t want to watch you like a hawk or set strict rules, but at the same time, I am feeling taken advantage of. I understand the occasional need to run an errand but our work hours are x to y, and you've left early once a week for the last four weeks. What do you suggest we do to make this work out for both of us?"

Document your discussion and whatever agreement you reach and then follow up in a month, two months, six months. Is she still comfortable with what you've worked out? Are you?