I work in the HR department of a private company where we have a five day week. What measures could we adopt in order to maintain discipline specially with regard to preventing employees from taking unplanned leaves on Fridays or Mondays?
From India, New Delhi
Aniket Pathak

Let me clarify that leaves taken prior or after weekly offs or holidays are 99.99 percent planned. The only thing employee should do is communicate about it and get it approved from the respective manager. Now if the employees are not doing that and being absent on first or last day of week then its time to amend your leave policy with a clause that all such leaves (taken without approval) will be termed unauthorized and/ or without pay. Believe me no one will dare to go on leave without informing once you deduct the salary of two three employees for being absent without authorization..
From India, Pune

What is the percentage of employees taking strategic leaves in the manner described by you?
I would suggest you send a circular to all HODs highlighting the problems created by sudden absence of employees.
Only after making an effort to counsel, advice employees should disciplinary action be thought off.
After the circular is sent, identify employees who have made a habit of such "unplanned" leaves and inform HoD about the names and ask them also to counsel.
After all this effort to persuade or dissuade employees then plan out issue of show cause notices and further actions as deemed fit by higher administrative authorities.

From India, Pune

Apart from the useful suggestions made above by respected senior members of this forum, be mindful of the fact that absenteeism is not the disease. It is a symptom of some deeper malaise in the organisation. As the absenteeism is perceived to be worrisome, you may look for the factors responsible for it. It is better to study the morale or alienation felt by the employees in general and such employees in particular.
From India, Mumbai
Nagarkar Vinayak L

This is commonly observed tendency to make weekend longer by availing leave on Fridays or Mondays in 5- day week companies.
Whether planned or unplanned absence, the working of the department gets disturbed. It needs to be curbed by making suitable policy .
You may like to consider making rule that no absence whether with or without permission will be permitted on Fridays and Mondays ( except if it falls on Holidays), and is liable for salary deduction if availed.
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR- Consultant

From India, Mumbai
Aniket Pathak

One more thing, that i missed in my post is employees if taking leave prior or later weekly offs usually planned them so that they can utilize the time to go on outing or vacation and to exhaust minimum leave possible. This is some thing they can surely inform about.
The real problem is taking leave after the weekly offs just for the sake of avoiding work and taking rest for one more day. People usually do that when they don't enjoy their work or lack the sense of belongingness and ownership.
To avoid this, apart from the disciplinary action motivation and sense of responsibility seems more effective.
Managers should be more co-operative, empathetic and accessible. That way employee wont feel left alone and share their plans instead of keeping them from managers or HR. This way unplanned absenteeism can be avoided.

From India, Pune

Thank you Seniors for guiding me. However, I still have one question- if we deduct their salary, then how to deal with leaves for that month which has been credited in their leave bank.
From India, New Delhi

I believe there are two sets of Leaves:
1. SICK/CASUAL: These kind of leaves are right of the Employee, it is provided once in a month generally. So you can not stop any one to take such leaves.However reasons justifying such leaves are also like Medical/family urgency like that.
2. Earned Leaves: These kind of leaves the employee has earned, so rules can be made to avoid the misuse of it. Clubbing it with weekend or avoid business exigencies. How ever the manager should take a call and should not treat each employee exactly same.
Most of the Leaves are always planned as per convenience of all the family members.
And we should not restrict employees to take leaves. Hence most of the important kind of work can be kept always from Tuesday to Thursday. Delivery schedules/meetings etc.
I am in IT and generally we face such issues, people who travel on weekend are generally less enthusiastic on Monday that adversely impacts productivity.

From India, Hyderabad
Aniket Pathak

Dear Archana,
This is very hard decision to make and please involve your officials into this.
First you have to issue a circular then comes the part of leave deduction with the approval of Manager. If you go for without pay option it will impact not only salary but also PF, Bonus etc. first discuss all the suggestions you got here with you seniors and then implement. All the best.

From India, Pune

Some points regarding unplanned leaves taken by employees:
1. Unplanned leaves should fall on CL and or SL with post facto approval/ regularization from the concerned Managers with proper cause. You can not consider it as LOP (Loss of Pay)
2. Unplanned leaves may effect PL or EL (Previlige or Earned Leave) in case there is no CL/ SL balance. In such cases, same post facto approval/ regularization can be done with proper and genuine cause along with supporting docs. (Medical certificate etc).
3. In case there is no balance of CL/ SL Unplanned Leaves, the leaves should always be justified with reasons and concerned Managers have been empowered to mark it as LOP in case Company suffers due to that leave.
4. Whenever there is a LOP (loss of pay) due to unplanned leave, care should be taken to adjust the payroll workings as well as PF and other workings which has a direct impact of LOP. Also, the employee should be informed about the LOP before processing his payroll by his/ her Manager and/ or HR.
5. If an employee does not come on Friday or Monday, the concerned manager (empowered by Company policy) has the right to mark it as LOP with an intimation and it should be supported by some clause in Company policy.
6. Normally it does not happen if the company is able to provide a healthy environment (means proper care of each employees with regular /periodical interaction by HR and/ or Manager ( 1 to 1), by which you can generate an
awareness among all the employees. It's basically a responsibility of the Managers to make him/ her understand about his/ her ownership and so that he/she could feel his/her involvement in the process they involved.

From India, New Delhi
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