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Just keep in mind that how you would expect a company HR to act if the lady asking for relaxation would have been one of your family member. HR acts as parent of the employees who have some moral responsibility also.
regards
harpreet

From India, New Delhi
Dear All,
Same situation happened in our office where we have considered the concession of 2 hrs from normal working hours and the salary for those days calculated accordingly in this case the employee and employer both were satisfied and at the same time other staff was also not prompted.

From India, Gurgaon
I would say be kind and helpful. But when it is company interest v/s individual interest company interest should be forefront. Comparison with family is not correct.
Do all employees take that much care of company as they would for their family, then why expect company to treat as family??
Be helpful and kind to employees but do not stretch rules in a manner that you will find it difficult.

From India, Pune
I am actually an HR manager with international responsibilities at a US company. I have followed your blog for several years now, and have found it very instructive in assisting me in understanding our operations in India. Thanks to all who have helped educate me. This is my first post, however.
In the U.S., and in many of the other jurisdictions in which I work, this would be treated as a disability issue . . . that is to say, if the employee could provide a statement from her doctor requiring a shorter work day for medical reasons, it would be handled under our disability policies. This takes the emotional issues -- the debate over what is "right" or "wrong" -- out of the picture. It also solves the problem of others who may ask for similar concessions due to pregnancy by setting a defensible procedure for honoring or not honoring such requests in the future.
Is there a reason why such an approach would not be appropriate in India?
Jeff Hughey

From United States,
Dear Shri Nathrao,

I am unable to make out what actually you perceive by the term, "compny intererst", whether to follow the company rules/ conventions rigidly or to facilitate work smmothly and efficiently without buying resentment of the employees; to compel a worker to become a bad worker by following the policies rigidly or to motivate him/ her to be a good & sincere worker; to make attrition rate high by rigidness and negative attitude of HR or to buy sincerity and loyalty of a worker; to encourage the sense of strangeness or to motivate the workers to feel the sense of ownership of the company; to feel the sense of alienation and disaffection or to make them feel the sense of closeness with the mnagement to foster cordial relations between the management and the workers; to discourage and disssatify the workers or to make them satisfied with certain facilities in order to motivate them towards bringing efficiency and productivity of the company?

For your kind information the Rules and Procedures are not of statutory nature, like the provisions of law. These are made as model guidelines to be followed in normal circumstances for bringing smoothness in company operations so that the same may not get distracted from the set pattern by use of arbitrary manners by individuals in the absence of guidelines. Rules and procedures are always subject to modification according to the needs of the organisation. Discretions are always attached to that for the managers to see how the work can be managed efficiently by not attracting any discomfort or dissatisfaction of the employees.

As regards your question, "do all employees take that much care of company as they would for their family," give and take is normally equal. For them managers come first and the company later due to attitudes of the managers. They take cre of the managers, who take care of them. So, at first managers has to discharge its responsibility to make the employees feel the sense of ownership and then they should expect sincerity, loyalty and affection from them for the management and the company. A company becomes good or bad due the goodness or the badness of the managers. Attrition rates are high in those companies only, where the employees are dissatisfied with the company's management and policies. For that only managers can squarely be held responsible.

From India, Delhi
""am unable to make out what actually you perceive by the term, "compny intererst", whether to follow the company rules/ conventions rigidly or to facilitate work smmothly and efficiently without buying resentment of the employees; to compel a worker to become a bad worker by following the policies rigidly or to motivate him/ her to be a good & sincere worker; to make attrition rate high by rigidness and negative attitude of HR or to buy sincerity and loyalty of a worker; to encourage the sense of strangeness or to motivate the workers to feel the sense of ownership of the company; to feel the sense of alienation and disaffection or to make them feel the sense of closeness with the mnagement to foster cordial relations between the management and the workers; to discourage and disssatify the workers or to make them satisfied with certain facilities in order to motivate them towards bringing efficiency and productivity of the company?""

Rules are a guideline to be followed for all employees without any deviation.

When we start deviating for one employee, then others will follow asking for same privilege/relaxation.

Can every company afford that?

Company has to be fair and deal with employee in helpful fashion-does that mean every demand of employee should be met??

While rules and procedures are not statutory in nature but for an employee it is binding.

Unlike in Japanese companies where employees work till retirement in same company, labor mobility is high in India-poor working conditions, better offers.

So personally I would always like to see a company which is fair in treatment of employees but not over welfare oriented.

Discretionary powers bring in subjectivity.

Balance has to be struck between welfare and work.

Where welfare is too high, it necessarily does not mean higher output or happiness..

(For eg look at PSUs)

From India, Pune
Dear Mr. Jeff,

On your post about disability policy, I can only say, try to trust your employee, he will pose much more trust on you, rather than in the name of the company he works for. His efficiency and productivity is your own efficiency and productivity to help development of your own career. For doctor's certification, use that provision only when your employee is distrustful by nature or the company has prescribed that as a must. If you always try to depend on a doctor by not using due diligence and discretionary power that is not warranted of you, as a manager. That should not become a hard and fast rule for all the time.

In fact the term management is required to be underastood in its right perspective. In my views, a manager, in the name of a manager, is not a real manager, if he always seeks or expects direction from the high ups or some outside agency (here, a doctor) rather than to manage the things by himself. If you are a manger, you have to manage most of the things yourself, unless there is any specific restriction imposed for any specific activity or operation or you feel any embargo due to some specific reason or doubt.

From India, Delhi
After going through all the discussion according to me suggestions Mr Jeff have stated is both emotionally and practically correct, in a situation where an employee who is very important for the company is requesting something which cannot be denied in a straightway and canít even accept the request readily as before considering the same HR have to consider its future aspects and effects of the same on other employees. In that case disability issue can be used. Asking for doctorís certificates does not make an employee distrustful. It just helps to solve an issue in a logical way with a proper valid reason which can be documented for future reference. If an employee is true on his/her part and when his/her request is accepted on moral grounds I donít think they will have problem giving related documents. This will make every other employee realize that company is in favor of employees as an when they need it with valid reasons.

Also Changes in policy has to be done as and when such situation arises. This will help you to retain your Good employees and will bring good impression among others.

From India, Pune
For a moment let's forget about the pregnancy. Many of the offices/works have their "permission" rule either to leave early or come late Policy enlisted among their HR policy. This policy when implemented in letter and spirit in the work places where attendance is marked (entry & leaving) by punching system either bio metric or otherwise takes care such issues automatically. This policy generally provide for certain permission hours subject to certain limits. Say twice or thrice in a month. When availed over and above the limit automatically debited to their leave a/c together per month. In these cases there is no provisions for emotional angle/reasons. Therefore pregnancy is a non-issue here. The policy applies commonly to all, both male and female. On the Otherhand, where such a policy is not in vogue requests used to keep coming now and then. In many places, the respective HODs who are normally given or assume such powers to allow permission for all kinds of reasons and tackle them as and when arises depending on the exigencies. Especially when it's not very frequent or regular it's always possible to accommodate irrespective of reasons. For e.g. to consult a doctor as per appointment, visiting the school of their wards, attending some functions/funerals etc. In small offices where the rapport among the staff involved used to be very close and it could be easy to adjust among themselves. And these are 'unofficial' permissions. We used to call this French Leave. Whereas cases explained in the post has the potential to evolve like some sort of a HR policy which will be quoted in such cases in future as well as a 'precedent'. It's always possible to demand certain facilities/concessions as per 'past precedent' which will be very difficult to deny when once established as a customary norms. Courts also recognises certain customs and conventions and precedents which may not found in rule books. Further this involves a longer period probably extends from the 7th month to say 9th or 10th month till she delivers and may even extend beyond also for child care etc. It is well understood a human touch is necessary to deal such requests at the same time be aware when you embarking on making a precedent that too for a prolonged period the HR should weigh the pros and cons of the relaxation policy with an eye on the future as it would amount to making a fresh rule which has to be followed commonly for all. As enforcing such a thing selectively would be inviting blame of partisan attitude of HR.
From India, Bangalore
Dear Shri Nathrao,

Probably, you have earned experience only in the PSUs. There is a lot of difference between public limited company (private) and a public sector undertaking (Government). Perhaps, you would like to agree with me, while a public limited company solely works professionally, a PSU neither works professionally nor on a Government pattern. Further, while a private company is answerable to its stake holders/ share holders, a PSU is never made answerable to anyone. So, you can often find a situation of mismanagement or anarchy in a PSU. For example, if other mutual fund companies can earn profits and disburse handsome dividends why there arose the need for the Government to dump 9000 crores of the tax money of the public at large to make that stand on its legs. When the department of telecom was the most profitable organisation of the Government of India, why there was the need to convert that in to two different corporation (PSUs) to make them the losers. While the Delhi and Mumbai Telephone Districts of the Department of Telecome were the topmost revenue earners, why MTNL (PSU) formed with these earning units has suffered an accummulated loss of more than 6623 crores up to the end of the financial year 2011-12. On the other hand the BSNL (PSU), formed out of the rest of the Telecom Department, has resulted in to a loss of 8851 crores in a single year of 2011-12. These figures ar not fabricated by me, but were declared in the Rajya Sabha by Shri Milind Deora, Minister of State Communication & IT on 17.08.2012 in reply to a question by Shri Prakash Javadkar, the then Member RS, now a minister.

In fact (you may try to observe yoursef also) the PSUs are created to serve the interests of the political bosses and their touts to accommodate them to make their life comfortable and lucrative, not to serve any public interest in reality. In such PSUs the top brass treat themselves as the kings, while the subordinates as their personal servants. I remember at the time of incorporation of a PSU, the incoming MD brought with him 4 persons from his previous PSU out of which one of them was serving him and his family as a cook in the canteen of his previous organisation. He appointed him as Assistant Manager making him rise to the post of vice president later, whereas several spelling mistakes could be noticed from his 3-4 lines' of a simple application of his casual leave. I remember another instance, where the Minister in-charge got hired maximum number of vehicles by a PSU and used freely for his election campaign. In another unit, my boss in the presence of my other colleagues asked me, why he was not getting any work from my unit. My simple reply was, whatever was within my own competence, I did not feel to get approval from the high ups or to report them and that he should be interested only to see for the results.

So, any comparison of PSUs with the private companies is quite irrelevant.

About my views with reference to the topic, these are not based on any theoretical or hypothetical perceptions, but are based on my own practical experience in different organisations. Long ago in one organization my zonal manager tauntingly asked me how many people should he post in my unit, as employees approach him frequently with the request to post them in my unit. I simply asked him did I approach you any time to post some specific employee in my unit or to take some out of that, while my unit was specifically kept short. More so, the employees treated as the worst of all were being posted in my unit by taking out good workers from my unit. But, whosover wast treated as bad worker by other units used to work efficiently in my unit. Tthey used to give me the best performance to make my unit the best of all units in all respects. In one organisation, in the farewell party on my relief, even the managing firector appreciated that he had not seen any such farewell party where right from the security guard up to the level of managing director had participated without any distinction or difference. Why so? The reason was, I used to use my own styles of management, which I considered to be rational without violating the spirits of rules and regulations.

So, it is up to the sweet will of each individual executive/ manager to agree or not with my views. I express my views only as based on my own personal experience gained during my active service till my rtirement about 15 years back. So, you are also free to agree or disagree with my views and opinions.

From India, Delhi

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