One of my key members of staff is currently on paid annual holiday leave. We’ve just won a big project and I need his help to get it started before the 4th of January when it goes live. Unfortunately, I can’t contact him because I have phoned his house and left an answerphone message, his mobile goes straight to voicemail and I’ve left him a voicemail message. I’ve also emailed every known email address I have of his with read receipt requests but nothing so far. Unfortunately he’s not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and it occurs to me there might be something wrong although his team workers think he’s ignoring me. None of them say they know where he is.
What I want to know is where does the company stand if somebody on paid annual holiday leave ignores legitimate communications from his employer and refuses to call back head office? If he was here in the office, refusing a reasonable direct request from senior management is a disciplinary matter but because he’s out of the office, is there anything I can do or is this a disciplinary matter that has to wait until the 4th of January when it will be too late for him to be involved in the big project we’ve just won and could lose if he’s not going to help the company with it?
Many responses, but this is the one I’d go with:
He’s on holiday. That means he’s not at work. He doesn’t even have to acknowledge you exist until he’s back at work after his holiday.
I know in practise that many people, myself included, will maintain some level of engagement with work out of hours and during vacation but that is something we choose to do, not something our employers have a genuine legal right to demand of us.
Honestly, this post makes you sound like the worst kind of PHB. You’ve taken on a “big project” which needs to go live in less than 2 weeks without considering how you’re going to deliver it and only now have you realised you don’t have the skills or capacity to do it and are looking around for someone to blame.
Although the very first responder captured the true spirit of the situation:
Dude, what are you doing pissing about on Reddit for? You’ve got a project to prepare for and less than two weeks to do it…
A like for like exchange of annual leave is more than fair. The company is very busy right now with this new project we’ve won and the company would appreciate it if he could just pick up his phone and tell us he’ll be in tomorrow to work over Christmas and New Year.
I have no intent to break the law, I’ve told him that the M.D. has cancelled his annual leave and it’s going to be transferred to the first quarter of next year. If he doesn’t take it in the first quarter of next year then that’s his liability. As a company we’re being very understanding during this challenging time but the needs of the business are far more important than the needs of any employee including myself because without the extra work we’ve just won which he needs to do for us, there might not be a business viable enough to keep employing him! He can take his wife and kids somewhere nice next year.
He might be able to get away with that in some parts of the world. But in the UK? He’s going to be hanged. And what kind of Mickey Mouse operation is wholly dependent on getting random Big Projects?
(Via @mrs. claws.)