Q&A

How do I handle a tech who calls in sick all the time –and usually when I need her the most?

Q.

How do I handle a tech who calls in sick all the time –and usually when I need her the most?

A.

Editor’s note: Sometimes we get questions from readers in need that aren’t exactly technical questions, but they’re not typical business questions, either. For those nail techs dealing with difficult issues involving self-esteem, office politics, work relationships, and the like, we aim to offer guidance and perspective.

For this month’s On the Couch, we turn to Linda Green, director of operations and education for the nail department at Seattle-based Gene Juarez Salons and salons and spas, two beauty schools, and an advanced training facility. Green has been with Gene Juarez for 19 years and supervises 63 nail technicians and 10 instructors.

Sick of Sick Time

How do I handle a tech who calls in sick all the time –and usually when I need her the most? Techs are hard to find in my area and she des good work when she’s here. How much should I put up with?

Dear Left in the Lurch: This issue must be addressed immediately! Your clients are counting on you to honor their appointments. It doesn’t matter how good the tech is when she is there, if you, her coworkers, and her clients can’t count on her. You are at risk of losing clients, not to mention the fact that it sets a bad example for other staff members if you let this behavior go unchecked.

I would give this tech three chances. First, on order to protect yourself, you need to create a paper trail documenting the dates she calls in sick. You need to note in the file each time you talk to her, what was discussed, and that you clearly stated the consequences with your employee.

The first time you sit down to talk, let her know how being late affects her business and yours, and explain that her coworkers have to pick up the slack. Remember to let her know how pleased you and her clients are with her performance when she actually makes it in. Suggest she take better care of herself and ask her what she can do to help improve this situation.

The next time she calls in sick, sit down with her again. Let her know you’ve had this conversation before and as much as you and her clients appreciate her work, It causes too much turmoil when she calls in sick. Tell her that the next time she calls in sick she will need to bring in a doctor’s note. Explain that if she doesn’t, she is at risk of losing her job. Let her know you are documenting this and it will go in her file.

The third time she calls in sick, if she doesn’t have a doctor’s note, let her know if  she is sick again without a doctor’s note within a certain time frame (perhaps a month), she will be let go. Have this written down and have her sign It.

If she shows up consistently for a month, reinforce the good behavior by getting her a Good Job card with a Starbucks or similar coupon in it. Then set out some new goals for her. Clearly state your future expectations (i.e., how many sick days she is allowed to have for the next sit months) and the consequences if she doesn’t meet these expectations. Make sure your agreement is in writing and that she signs the agreement.

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