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I manage two employees who work under contract. They report everything to me including work progress and payments. The problem is they repeatedly bring up personal issues like sick family member, no money for food, and other silly lies, to get advance payments. I know these reasons are lies because this happens more than 3 times in a month.

They are casual workers who are not easy to replace with professional people. They do a very good job, which they use to justify their entitlement. I could be wrong, but I don't believe I should be discussing with top management about changing payment policy because someone's son is in a coma.

I have learnt to deal with this, but they are now taking advantage of other managers and top level management. I have instructed the other managers to direct them to me and not listen to them at all. This hasn't been effective as one of the top level managers told me about how she gave them her own money because of their family issues. She kept insisting that I should pay them even if their contract states that payments can be made in 30 days. The payments take time to be approved and released, which causes the delay.

I plan to cancel their contract, but I will first have to get good replacements since I am tight on schedule.

How can I deal with such employees?

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    You probably also need to make a plan to somehow address the way your upper management undermined you here - but that's a different question. – brhans Jul 25 '18 at 11:57
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    Both the question and the response above seem unnecessarily rude. First off, how do you know that they are lying? If I didn't have money for food I'd also starve more than once per month. Other than that, you're probably not familiar with this site format, but extra answers are not only expected but welcome. – ricardo silva Jul 25 '18 at 16:26
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    "I don't believe I should be discussing with top management about changing payment policy because someone's son is in a coma." - You are right. If an employee's son is in the coma, it's time to suggest to the top management, that the employee is given time off to deal with their son being in a coma. I feel bad for that employee. – Donald Jul 25 '18 at 17:19
  • @Maskedman possibly one person I could imagine but the OP's Q sets all my alarm bells ringing (I have almost 20 years experience in IR issues) because of the wording and tone - the OP is not readily believable as to me. – Neuromancer Jul 26 '18 at 20:06
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You would ideally start by telling them that asking advance money has been happening too frequently, and won't be entertained further. I would imagine you have already tried that in some way and that hasn't worked.

Taking advantage of you while your hands are trapped underneath a rock by making up silly lies is not only unprofessional but also unethical. You can either tolerate their shenanigans until you find a suitable replacement, or decide to fire them even if your business takes a hit.

A middle ground, which could also be an interim solution, might be to ask them why they keep making up these excuses so frequently, and perhaps whether they feel underpaid. Changing their payment frequency (for example, from monthly to weekly), and an official company policy on offering loans to employees would also help you push back on these emergency money requests.

Regarding other managers giving them their own money, it is probably best for you to stay out of it. What other people do with their money is not your problem.

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    we don't "know" they are lying – Neuromancer Jul 25 '18 at 19:43
  • @Neuromancer The OP has stated so in the question. It is not our job to investigate if it is true, we answer the question based on the information presented to us. – Masked Man Jul 25 '18 at 22:51
  • Not sure if this is the case everywhere, but I'm pretty sure in a fairly large number of jurisdictions you can't fire an employee for lying about their personal life in a matter unrelated to the company. Also, that would be an incredibly petty reason to fire someone. – RyNo Jul 26 '18 at 4:41
  • @RyNo They are not being fired for lying, but for lying to get advance payments. They cannot have their cake and eat it too. Bringing personal issues at work to get advance payments (more than 3 times every month?!) and then claiming that their personal issues are "unrelated" to the company doesn't work. – Masked Man Jul 26 '18 at 4:49
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    @MaskedMan Personal issues are none of the company's business, regardless of whether they're used to try to get some accommodation from the employer. It's the same as an employee lying about their reason to take PTO; it their time, they earned it, using it affects the employer, and they can give any reason they want to take it. The employer can reject it if they want, but they have no business prying into their employees' personal lives to make sure the employee is using their PTO the way they say they are. – RyNo Jul 26 '18 at 5:25
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Nothing you said in your question really gives me the impression they’re lying. Frequency alone isn’t evidence of lying, and none of the reasons you say they give for advance payments suggest that frequent requests are a lie. If you can’t afford food one month, you probably won’t have a ton of extra money for food the next month. If you have a family member that’s sick monthly, that could be due to a deficiency in their immune system, or an undiagnosed intolerance to gluten, or that they just can’t afford healthy food, or one of a million other things.

Everything in your question makes it sound like you’re not paying them a livable wage. You should probably start with a pay increase (and it should probably be a pretty big pay increase, especially if they’re not easy to replace) and see if they stop asking a few months after that.

  • If the problem was wage, then wouldn't they have asked for a raise from the start instead of repeated advance payments? – Noir Antares Jul 26 '18 at 1:18
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    @NoirAntares We don't know that they haven't tried asking for a raise. Also, it's entirely possible they just don't feel comfortable asking for a raise. It can be a lot harder for some people to ask for more money than it is to ask for money they're already owed. – RyNo Jul 26 '18 at 2:50
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Do you have a contract? Good. Does the contract instruct when/how they get paid? Good. Did they sign the contract (whether they read it or not is irrelevant, just that they signed it)? Good. Next time they ask for an advance payment, the word you should use is "no". They signed the contract, it says how they will be paid and when, and if that's the rule then that's the rule; if they don't want to follow the rule, then they can find employment elsewhere.

You are not responsible for them not budgeting their money correctly so they don't have money for food at the end of a pay period, that's on them, not on you. Next time they make a request of you like this, ask them for proof. Like, if their son is in the hospital, ask for the medical records or a note from the hospital or doctor.

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    -1 saying no is fine, asking them for proof is not. As an employer, you have no business seeing medical records of my kids. Not. Ever. – DonFusili Jul 26 '18 at 7:57
  • Ah, EXCEPT when you start regularly bringing up medical issues with your kids as a reason not to get something extra out and tehre is initial implication that you may actualyl be a lier because. Then it is "show me proof or walkt the door, idiot" time. If you bring up your kids, YOU opened the door. – TomTom Jul 27 '18 at 4:10
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They are casual workers who are not easy to replace with professional people. They do a very good job, which they use to justify their entitlement. I could be wrong, but I don't believe I should be discussing with top management about changing payment policy because someone's son is in a coma.

The way you put this makes you sound like a very rotten person. No offense meant. They're doing a great job, and it sounds like they are in a bad situation. Nothing they're saying or doing suggest malicious intentions and the fact that they are asking for advancement for serious reasons don't sound like a lie. The only reason you dislike this is because it causes you to do more paperwork.

I plan to cancel their contract, but I will first have to get good replacements since I am tight on schedule.

The fact that you want to fire these people solely on the grounds that they are asking for advanced payment due to unsubstantiated "obvious lies" really puts you in a bad light. What you should really be doing is asking them what sort of payment schedule they expect, and explain that making seemingly random advancements - 3 times a month - is too frequent as it requires a lot of paperwork. Imagine for a second you fired this person, and then later finding out a family member died when that "obvious lie" they told is really true.

It would also depend on the amount. If they want say $50 bucks because their kids need a brain surgery, then yeah that sounds a little off. But if they say they need $200 to fulfill a perscription, that doesn't sound off to me.

  • Yeah. Puts him relaly into bad light. The bad light of a person running a right ship to get things done. The type of asshole that actually earns his paycheck by doing good work on his job. Instead of being someone who gets a medal for being nice while his company looses money on scumbag employees. Are you joking? – TomTom Jul 27 '18 at 4:11
  • @TomTom I'm sorry but where in his story was it revealed that the employees were lying and he was losing money? BTW, how did the company lose money that the employee earned? From what I gather they are taking a advancement which is a earlier pay of what they would earn anyways. Unless I'm missing something here... ??? – Dan Jul 27 '18 at 17:49
  • Learn. Reading. Let me quote: "I know these reasons are lies because this happens more than 3 times in a month." - so how can you even ask where it was revelaled they are lying? Plus he IS Loosing money. People wanting regular attention do cost money - attention is not free. This also nicely interrupts cash flow planning. – TomTom Jul 30 '18 at 5:56
  • @TomTom Again, where in what you quoted mean it is a lie? The employee claims his kid is in a coma. Are you saying if a kid is in a coma, the employee cannot request advanced payment - that they earned and will be deducted - for any sort of procedure or medication? Can you cite sources to any medical documentation or anything that explains the expense of a individual who is in a coma? – Dan Jul 30 '18 at 16:08
  • No, but the OP says he knows it is a lie because this happens multiple times a month. The lie is part of the question - it is what is part of the condition set by the OP, Plus he says it happens muptipel times a month (at more han one employee). There are levels where you do only need common sense to see this is not normal. Obviously common sense was never part of your education. I feel sorry for your parents. – TomTom Jul 30 '18 at 16:39

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