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Raj Kumar Hansdah
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Sr. Hr Executive @ Polymerupdate
Harsh Shukla
Ceo And Md Of 3 Uk Based Mnc's
Retired From Air India
Manager Sanmar Speciality Chemicals
Turnaround And Management Training
+6 Others

Can you please advice me that if an employee chooses not to attend an office picnic for personal reason , in that case should he/she be marked present since the office remains closed on that day . Or should a leave be deducted . Logically I think the employee to be marked present. Kindly post your view.
26th April 2013 From India, Pune
Yes, you are right.
On a Closed Holiday, an employee can not be marked absent (unless otherwise that is his duty day).
Attending an office picnic; though is recommended; yet an employee should not be penalized for his inability to attend.
Sometimes there are genuine reasons for not attending, which I had come across, such as sickness in family, pregnancy of wife, relatives marriage ceremony etc etc.
One should remember that an employees are not machines or slaves; they have their own social life and responsibilities too; which they plan to attend to during Weekly Off or Closed Holidays.
Warm regards.
26th April 2013 From India, Delhi
Hi Shuvra,
The picnic is actually not a holiday neither is it a working day.
So practically the question of attendance marking do not arise.
The day has been chosen for an event - picnic so that people can have time off from their work and perhaps some team building games can be exercised.
In this case, we are not to mark the attendance, instead we mark the day as picnic day.
Since it is not a working day and ideally the person is not absent from work, we do not deduct the leave / pay of the person.
Hope it helped.
26th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
Hi Shuvra,
I have a slightly different view than the above members, in that you have to consider:
Was the Picnic day a working day and that is why the office was closed
Was the personal reason given a valid one
How would you have treated the absence if it was a normal working day
Your answers to the above should guide you as to how to proceed.
Hope this helps,
26th April 2013 From United Kingdom, Barrow
Hi Harsh,
If you could kindly explain how would it the reason or the day be of that importance in the attendance marking?
In my firm, we went on a picnic on sat (which is ideally a working half day) and since we have major male staff, the female staff were not comfortable joining the picnic.
Picnic is not a mandate thing. Surely it helps in team building and helps in employee engagement and motivation but how does it help if we force them to come on picnic.
Deducting leave or pay for not coming on picnic = forcing them to come on picnic or get penalized.
Ideally that's not how it works.
A simple example - though children love chocolates, we can't force them to eat one.
My views, there can be other view and I would like to be educated on that.
26th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
Hi Ankita,
I understand and appreciate your view.
I feel it is important to establish if the picnic was an official event, held on a (normally) working day, and therefore, mandatory. In which case normal rules would apply. Hence, the need to establish the reason for absence. Particularly, if the company is spending resources for employee engagement and motivation.
If it was NOT an official event then attendance should be discretionary, (but desirable) in which case no action should be taken, because the picnic becomes a purely social event.
I agree with you where a group (in your case, all female staff) are uncomfortable then the WHOLE group should be excused; (although this may actually defeat the object of a picnic if it was for employee engagement/motivation purposes).
On a more humorous note: my children love chocolate so much, I fear I would never have the opportunity to see if i can FORCE them to eat one !!!
26th April 2013 From United Kingdom, Barrow
Harsh has a point; whether the picnic was held on a working day ??
Although, it is unlikely that an office picnic is held on a working day and the office is Closed on that day.
However, I have covered this rare option;
"On a Closed Holiday, an employee can not be marked absent (unless otherwise that is his duty day)."
to cover the option of some employees having shift working day.
Warm regards.
26th April 2013 From India, Delhi
Bothe Ankita and Harsh have valid points and the proper action, to me, lies between the two.
Picnic is an event but not an offcial duty so that an emlployee cannot be compelled to attend it and given various circumstances, it is left to an employee's option to attend it or not.
If the picnic was held on a holiday, there is no need to mark any thing excepting marking Sunday" (if held on Sunday and if it is holiday) or simply 'holiday ' if it was held on any other holiday. There is no need to mark 'present' or 'absent' since the weekly offs(Sundays) or holidays are paid holidays.
If, as Harsh pointed out, the picnic was held on a working day and the office remained closed solely beacuse of picnic, then that day shall be marked as Picnic day and shall be treated as paid day for all irespective one attends picnic or not.
This is my view.
HR & Labour Law Advsior
28th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
Dear Ankita,
I second with Mr. Harsh because if employee engagement activity organized by employer inside the premises of the company like picnic & employer has put in resources to carry out it successfully ( I assume the activity organized on working day ) in that case if any employee is absenteeing himself /herself from that activity will be deemded as Absentee from the activity so this Absenteeism should be consider as Leave / Absent with due permission with respective concerned approving authority.

28th April 2013 From India, Pune
Kindly quote the PICNIC as SOCIAL EVENT if it was plan to release the stress and get-together for having some fun. It is not at all associated with our PROFESSIONAL LIFE.
- Most of the time picnics are scheduled on weekends inorder to avoid routine activities.
- If they are scheduled on weekday, nowhere employee can be held responsible for his absenteesm.
- Even if the Management had decided to FUND for SOCIAL EVENT(PICNIC), it cannot be treated as OFFICIAL EVENT nor the employees can be held responsible for their attendance..
- OFFICIAL EVENTS are scheduled on WEEKDAYS as it associated with an SPECIFIC BUSINESS OBJECTIVES
With profound regards

28th April 2013 From India, Chennai
Dear All;

Picnic is not a term or condition of employment. Attendance or absence is concerned with employment. Those who participate in picnic are welcome, others excused. There cannot be any thinking of attendance or absence of employees.

Extend this notion then there are several situations where we will face similar dilemma. e.g.

1. There is puja for installing a new machine and pedhas are distributed, one says no to pedha.

2. There is Dasara puja or similar occasions and an employee does not participate because of gulal.

3. There is function of felicitating employees on completing 25 years of service and an employee does not clap.

4. There is canteen and subsidised food, an employee brings food from home and does not go to canteen

5. There is transport bus available but an employee comes on his bicycle.

There may be many more situations like the above. You can add to the list.

In these circumstances what would be your decision? Nothing, It is employee's choice.

Vibhakar Ramtirthkar.
28th April 2013 From India, Pune
Dera Shuvra,
You have received every details for your food for thought. I have a question for you. Are you paying your employees for productivity or showing up, each time you may call them?
An activity away from work cannot be categorised as productivity, unless its a paid-training programming, that can efficate the employee's productivity.
A picnic is ideally an unwinding activity, where team bonding can be aimed, remains to be achieved.
If an employee decidingly avoids it, you may need to check for the reasons. If its really genuine, you may humanly consider.
Wish you all the best !
28th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
Dear Prashant.
You have thrown a point for thought by bringing in a phrase 'employee engagement' to describe 'picnic'. Yes, some companies may conduct a team activity or an experiential training activity outside the office.Then the company makes it clear to all employees that is is an official activity meant for employee engagement or out-bound training and that every body needs to attend it, If so, there is hardly any room to entertain any doubt as to how to treat an employee when he/she opts not to attend it and the queriest must go with your reply.But it seems,certainly, not the case as is obvious from the query.The queriest must have got the doubt about marking an employee since the picnic must have been a collective decision of the employees and must have been sponsored by the office.The queriest must clarify it so that the members can reply properly
HR & labour Law Advsior
28th April 2013 From India, Mumbai
Dear Member/s,
Companies will organise picnics for the same of entertainments of employees and if the day organised falls as working day the absenting employee should be marked with leave. It is the moral obligation of any employee to attend the company's picnic, as the same is organised for him to meet other colleagues and know each other.
Otherwise as told by other members, if the picnic is declared on weekly off, then no leave to be marked. However it is a remark for the absenting employee, if the reason is not valid.
Hope this is clear.
Nv Subba Rao
28th April 2013 From India, Hyderabad
Dear all
Arranging picnic by corporates / office is to boost morale of employees and to strengthen the unity amongst employees. If one employee is not able to attend the picnic is not a matter, on his / her personal ground. Ultimately the employee is the looser. Nevertheless, picnic is being arranged normally on week end / holidays and not concern about the present/absent.
29th April 2013
The Same happened in my Office. Due to a certain employee getting promotion two days before the planned picnic, another group rejected the idea of them going to a day's outing at a Theme park. Instead of declaring a Holiday to that group and few others who weren't coming, we ensured they came to office on that day ensuring skeletal staff strength. That day turned out to be Superb with Fun and lots of Team Bonding. We all got to know each other well. The next day, we uploaded all the Pictures and Videos on the Intranet. As a HR, at times like this we should casually speak to employees and not in anyway force them. At the same time, the firmness of the management should be maintained. "All is well that ends Well"
29th April 2013 From India, Madras

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It is to be analysed whether the office will work as usual if this picnic was not organized? If yes, in such a case, if anyone wishes to not to take part would need to marked leave.
29th April 2013 From India, Chennai
The principle of natural justice and a bit of commonsense( sorry for using strong word to make a point) would dictate that absence will only be valid if the "WORk" suffer due to such absence.
No picnic/social event replaces regular work for which employees are paid for.
29th April 2013 From India, Chandigarh
If This is notify earlier that attendance is compulsory then you were mark absent. Offfice is closed for Picnic only. You have not attended the picnic for persoal reason that why in my view you were mark absent and your one Hoilday will be adjusted. Anil
30th April 2013 From Pakistan, Lahore
There are two things:
1) See the matters is discussed in your wage settlement
2) What is the practice followed in your orgn.
If your settlement pave way for deduction if a person is not coming for picnic, you may deduct after a proper notice served to him.
This is the process followed in my previuos employments.
T Muralidaran
99404 97328
30th April 2013 From India, Hosur
gud evening to all,
Hey I dont know more than you but what is in my mind is that if we devide these picnic in two parts 1) for social cause and 2) empliyees' productivity. Then it may become easy to make the employees' attendance mandetory or otherwise.
30th April 2013 From India, Delhi
I have a question to be asked to you all in this context.
In our company the picnic is always organised on Saturday. Our company follow the practice of 6 days working a week. So we usually have to compensate for this, by working on a Sunday. If any one is not able to attend the picnic we mark them as absent. Please let me know from a employee prospective that this deduction or compensation is valid or not?
1st May 2013 From India, Vadodara
Hi Mayank,
Many organizations take picnics on Saturday it being a weekend for two reasons -
1. Even if saturday is a working one, people are not as productive and workload is not as much as on a monday. (Except in manufacturing or related industry)
2. Sunday can be still spent with family.
Yes I do understand that the operations remain closed on account of picnic. However I fail to understand why do workers have to compensate for the closure on sunday.
If the operations cannot be closed and ought to practice 6 days working, why not take them to picnic on Sunday instead.
Another thing. When we follow 6 day working, and you are taking people to a picnic with a clause that if absent, leave/pay would be deducted, it is as good as a working day. Whereas there is a rest day after atleast 6days.
If you belong to manufacturing or related industry, I think factory's act prevents one to do this and have a full working week.
Still I think seniors can give advice on this.
1st May 2013 From India, Mumbai
Hey Ankita,
First of all thanks for your quick response on this query. Secondly yes we do belong to Manufacturing Industry. I personally feel that person attending the picnic should be exempt from compensation. Rather them getting motivated the employee gets demotivated to join us for the picnic.
Adding to my post :- In the Picnic we usually have a award ceremony which involves loyalty and recognition awards for the past year.
1st May 2013 From India, Vadodara
Ankita raised a valid point.If you are factory covered by Factories Act and treat the picnic day as working day and mark absent an employee who abstains from picnic and make him work on Sunday, thus requiring him to be present for all six days in a week, how you manage weekly off for the employees since Sec.52 of the Factories Act directs that no adult worker shall be allowed to work continuously for 7 days a week and in other words he should have a holiday after six days of work in a week.It ii not the question of your personal feeling but it is a statutory requirement..
1st May 2013 From India, Mumbai
Harsh, About the chocolate, try feeding them bitter chocolate, you may have to force it.
2nd May 2013 From India, Mumbai
Saswatabanerjee, Excellent Comment; much appreciated. Regards, Harsh
3rd May 2013 From United Kingdom, Barrow
I would like to differ a bit with Harsh. What is valid reason for one maynot be a valid reason for other.For example I myself do not enjoy such picnics because whatever may be happening there one thing that surely happes is LOTS OF DRINKING ! I being a teetotaller feel sort of outcast and although on amicable terms with my colleagues they cannot enjoy ''those moments-rather hours!'' with me.
3rd May 2013 From India, New Delhi
Hi Saibhakta,

I too am a teetotaler; in my position I am required to attend many functions where alcohol is consumed in (my opinion) obscene quantities.

Very often the host is quite surprised that I do not partake, and now at every function a jug of juice is set aside solely for me.

As I am never judgmental, or pass any comment whatsoever, I have never felt an outcast. Indeed I am respected for being a teetotaler.

Occasionally, somebody will comment, my response is just to smile and nod my head, but I do make a note and the next time I meet that person in a state of sobriety I do inform them that I do not drink because I choose not to just as they choose to do so and while they enjoy the drink I enjoy the "tamasha" that usually follows. This seems to do the trick and serves to further enhance my reputation.

So, never ever feel that you are an outcast, ultimately you will hold the moral high ground.

Before any members jump on me, may I reiterate that I am not judgmental and I still respect those that drink.

Incidentally, I am a veggie as well !!!

Warm regards,

3rd May 2013 From United Kingdom, Barrow
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