Pushing the limit on playing hooky

Pushing the limit on playing hooky

Q. I think one of my veterinary staff members is abusing the sick days policy. What should I do about it?
source-image
Dec 02, 2013
By dvm360.com staff

A team member who calls in sick too often without actually being ill can affect the morale of your entire team. Even worse, it can affect the level of care and attention each client and pet will receive for the day.

"We count on every team member to show up," says Brian Conrad, CVPM and practice manager for Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash.

While it's unrealistic to think there won't be times an employee will need the day off due to illness, neither an occasional cough nor "I didn’t get enough sleep!" are going to work as a valid excuses to take the day off.

When an employee appears to be abusing the system, sit down with him or her and communicate your concerns. Review with them the dates and times they missed and explain the impact on the clinic, the team, and the clients and patients you serve. Show some real compassion and empathy so they know you're willing to work with them and give them a chance to change.

"Discuss the clinic's needs and expectations. This includes the team member showing up in a timely and consistent manner," Conrad says. "Have your expectations in writing and ask the team member to sign the expectations in acknowledgement of the future plan."

Having this one-on-one discussion with your team member empowers him or her to take responsibility for their absences. It also allows impending actions to dictate the future status of his or her employment.

If the trend continues, it may be time to consider termination. Failure to address the employee abusing the system will cause anger and resentment for other team members who have fully committed to the practice.

Hot topics on dvm360

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.