I'm on the board of an organization that has recently hired a new employee in a position where attendance during particular set hours is fairly important.
The employee used up all her paid time off during the first 2 months of the year due to illness. We revised our PTO policies to allow her to earn comp time during other hours under certain conditions (such as, we have a need for someone to help with an event outside of her normal hours) rather than always having to take unpaid leave, but we really need someone in the office during her set hours, and we don't have anyone else on staff who can fill in.
Assuming that the illnesses are genuine, is there a good/respectful way to handle this? (The person's direct supervisor just sent her an email while she was again out sick, stating that her "excessive" absences are "unacceptable" which I don't consider a good or respectful way of handling the situation.) As much as I'd like us to be considerate of the employee, whose absences are beyond her control, it is true that her absences create a hardship for her supervisor and for the organization as a whole.
(I am in the U.S. and I tagged "disability" although I don't know whether or not the employee has a documented chronic medical condition or whether she has just been unlucky with her health this year.)
This is a small non-profit organization. It does not have an HR department. It has a board of directors, which are all volunteer positions. And it has 4 paid staff members, two full-time including this one, and 2 very part-time. There is no other role this employee could fill, nor anyone else who can fill her duties (other that possibly other volunteers, but that is unlikely as most are not available during the workday either).
For what it's worth, we really don't want to have to terminate the employee. If it's a temporary situation (unlucky with health the past several months) we'd want to just ride it out. If it's likely to be a chronic situation, we may have no choice. And of course we can't exactly ask directly.