I have taken over the management of a child care center.
The problem that I am hoping to address at the very least is staff who calls in sick very late in the night the day before. We have about 20 staff working and have at least 4 of them randomly messaging me on a Sunday night (or another weekday night) at 8 saying they won't make it the next day.
This leaves me with very little time to organise and confirm casual staff (people who have signed up to work on a short notice). It is impracticable and also hard on casual staff. Not to mention it gives me sleepless night(s) with how I am supposed to run the center.
It also is not possible for an agency to supply me workers at such short notice. It's almost giving me anxiety where I fear looking at my phone in the evenings. It is required (government policy) for a set number of staff to be working so as to maintain the educator-to-child ratio.
There already is a policy in place that says staff should inform at least 24 hours in advance - which no one seems to care about, clearly. Even if this policy is changed and the time limit is increased/decreased, with the current events, this still leaves me in a position where I am not able to discharge my duties.
I note that it is absolutely acceptable and possible that people might fall sick just the night before their shifts - which is why they are entitled to 10 days of sick leave annually. Most of the staff are generally healthy and whenever they chuck in a sickie they are required to give a GP/doctors certificate, which they do. If they are over their sick leave quota - they don’t get paid - and they are fine with it.
I find the leave policy to be fair, so I am not leaning towards changing it. I am happy to hear otherwise, though.
What can I do to encourage and get my staff to respect the leave policy?
I have searched and haven't found this problem being answered. I did come across Employees abusing leave policy and How can I get employees to conform to office policies? which are both significantly different from what I am asking.
Policy: I had a chat with the previous director and I am told the 24 hour notice policy was brought in temporarily with a view to curb this behaviour. This had failed miserably and everyone forgot to roll this policy back or to address this issue at its roots.
Frequency: Some of the employees do this some of the times. Most are happy to go without pay and not produce a doctors certificate. Getting a certificate is easy. Rock up to a GP and ask for one - its mostly free (bulk billed/medicare). Also please note this is a child care center - which is very very prone to staff and children getting sick often.
Abuse: I dont think there is abuse in the sense of it. With this behaviour most staff have shown a lack of commitment to their jobs. Replacing them is an option - but no guarantee this behaviour will not happen again. I think the previous managers may have indirectly encouraged this behaviour by being suitably accommodating and then getting anxiety and then quitting their jobs. These are just my personal observations.
So, even if we had to roll back the 24 hour notice policy - I am still trying to find ways on how I can run the center when staff randomly calls in sick. How do people in other centers or industries manage this? Rostering a casual worker always before hand and hiring extra staff are very cost prohibitive.