Manager Doesn’t Know How To Handle Employee Calling Out Twice A Week Because Her Kids Are Sick — ‘We Have Bent Over Backwards To Accommodate Them’

He doesn't want to lose a good employee but doesn't know what else to do.

angry woman looking at phone fizkes / Shutterstock

Everyone gets sick from time to time, and that’s understandable. But when someone calls out sick multiple times each week, it may be time for a company to act. 

One manager is trying to figure out how to do that without losing a good employee.

A manager doesn’t know the best way to handle a situation where an employee called out sick twice a week because of her kids.

In the Managers subreddit on Reddit, one manager asked for advice after dealing with an employee who wasn’t doing much to be flexible for the company.


“We’re a small team (5 of us), and one of my employees has young kids,” he explained. “At the beginning of their employment, they were calling out an average of one to two times a week due to their kids or them being sick. We sat them down and told them, while we’re sorry they’re sick so frequently, we have a business to run and can’t afford to have someone calling out sick all the time, given how small we are.”

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After having this talk and putting together a handbook on PTO, things seemed to improve.

“Things got better for a bit, but recently, they’ve been calling out due to them or their kids being sick and making up hours the following week,” he said. “We were fine with them making up hours at first but it’s increasingly become more of a problem.”

Unfortunately, the employee called out again.

“We had a busy week this past week, and they called out as their kids were sick and asked if I (the owner of the company) could cover their shift,” the man said. “I thought this was overstepping as they have a manager they report to and I felt that they should be notifying their manager, who would then decide how to handle the situation.”




When her direct manager reached out, the conversation did not go well. “Their manager tells them that they need to figure out a plan B for when their kids get sick because it’s starting to negatively impact our business with how frequently it happens, to which they responded by telling their manager that we need to figure out a plan B for when they call out,” he said.

Despite all of the issues the company has had with this employee, they don’t want to let her go. The owner stated, “We have bent over backward to accommodate them as they are a really good employee when they’re working, and we really can’t afford to lose any staff now, given our size and the amount of work we have going on. It seems as well that every time this is brought up, they get defensive and point fingers back at us.”

This business owner is just trying to do what’s good for his company, even though that seems unclear at the moment. 




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Management can take steps to make it more difficult for employees to take time off when it’s not necessary.

If you have an employee who’s always calling in sick, there are things you can do to remedy that. In fact, it sounds like this man may already have some of these practices in place.

According to The Hartford, “To curb employees always calling in sick to work, a growing number of companies now allow employees a specified number of paid days off for any purpose — that is, both sick time and vacation time are considered the same thing and consolidated into one paid leave package. This is typically called Paid Time Off, or PTO for short.”




This owner and his team were taking steps in the right direction by updating their company’s PTO policy and making sure this employee was aware of it. Unfortunately, sick time, work, and kids don't always play well together, but for working parents, it's par for the course. Employees with kids really do need a Plan B when it comes to sick kids and childcare. Not all workplaces are conducive to flexible schedules and working from home.

If this boss continues to struggle with his good but frequently absent employee, it may be time to part ways. 


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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.