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At my workplace, twice a year, I'm asked to sign a particular form that my working hours are within acceptable limits for the organization. About a year ago, higher-ups started requiring receipt of this form several months earlier than had formerly been the case. In fact, we're being asked to sign and submit the form on a date earlier than the working hours in question are known -- or at least my department is doing so before I go on vacation, during which my working hours will be set.

So the administrative staff are asking me to sign two variants of the same form, one for each of two different cases in which I could be, depending on how my working hours later get set, and promising to destroy the irrelevant copy once my situation is known at a later date. Again, they say they need to do this to meet the submission date requirement of the next level up, which occurs while I'm out of the office on vacation every time.

How should I respond to this request?

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    You should include your location, and information about what type of work you do. (or the particular name of the forms). As the undesirable outcome could range from nothing, to jail time, depending on the nature of misrepresentation. It's somewhat unusual for reporting deadlines to be very close to the period of time the report is for, because situations such as this arise. Also, you may want to anonymise this question, given an employer of yours is listed on your profile. – Gregory Currie Dec 23 '19 at 4:52
  • If they are just for use internally, it is unlikely there will be a severely negative outcome even if the wrong form is submitted. Do you have a paper trail of the conversation where you are asked to sign these documents? – Gregory Currie Dec 23 '19 at 5:00
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    @GregoryCurrie: The conversation is verbal only. – anon Dec 23 '19 at 5:08
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    Then repeat it by email, ASAP. Always leave an auditable trail (and never sign things you know to be wrong) – Mawg says reinstate Monica Dec 23 '19 at 6:40
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    This is great advice, and I would definitely second it. Just send an email saying "Just to summarise what was previously discussed" with everything you were told verbally and end with "please let me know if any of this sounds incorrect or you believe I have misunderstood anything". That way, you're putting the ball in their court, if they don't respond then they're tacitly confirming what you've written. – delinear Dec 23 '19 at 11:13
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You're essentially being asked to be a part of a malpractice - stay away from it.

Depending on your company policies, you may be required to report this to proper authorities - check your employee handbook / Code of conduct guidelines.

Until and unless there is a written request, which is approved by your manager / superior in writing, do not do anything that is asked of you in this case. Should anything go south, you'll be the one to be blamed.

Again, they say they need to do this to meet the submission date requirement of the next level up, which occurs while I'm out of the office on vacation every time.

Given that this is a formal process, there should be provisions to ensure that the process is carried out in case someone is on planned time-off. It's either

  • You sign and submit the documentation on the last working day before going on vacation, or,
  • You sign and submit on the first working day of joining back to work.

Given that this is the case related to your work timing, being on a vacation has little impact, as vacation time is not considered as working hours anyways, so either of the above should just work.

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  • I will say (re: last two bullets) that there is no such process. The first bullet point isn't possible because my future work hours are not known at that time; the second bullet isn't possible because the higher-level requires submission before that time. – anon Dec 23 '19 at 7:57
  • @DanielR.Collins But as you say, if the submission has to happen while you're on leave, so once your vacation time stats, you'll not be working, so there is no change on your work timing after your vacation starts. The last day of your work is to be taken s final - what is the problem then? – Sourav Ghosh Dec 23 '19 at 7:59
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    The form covers expected work hours in the future. – anon Dec 23 '19 at 8:01
  • @anon, So if I understand things correctly. Other employees, who are not going on vacation will still have to submit two variants of the same form as well? Correct? – Stephan Branczyk Dec 24 '19 at 22:44
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Every form that I sign has my signature and the date I signed it. Not sure what the problem is as you will date it when you sign it. Make a copy for yourself, as well, before returning the forms.

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