Strategies for Handling Employee HR Issues as Kids Go Back to School

Sep 22, 2017


Every fall as children head back to school across the country, HR manager gear up for the annual increase in school-related HR issues. The issues range from parents wanting time off to attend school events to employees having to stay home or leave early because of a child’s illness. Here are some strategies to help you handle some of this back to school HR issues.

Review Company Attendance Policies

You probably have the company’s attendance policies committed to memory. But, most of your employees don’t. Autumn is a great time to remind everyone what the company’s attendance policy is. If you want to make sure the biggest number of people actually read your message, you should create both a physical reminder in the form of a poster or flyer and a digital reminder in the form of an email.

Many attendance issues are the result of employees not knowing or not understanding the company policy. A little reminder may head off some issues. 

In addition to making company wide reminders, now is also a good time to reach out to any employees who have had attendance issues in the past with kids going back to school, or to anyone who has chronic absenteeism issues.

When speaking to employees with history of problematic absenteeism, try and make the tone of the conversation positive. Let them know you want to help them avoid any disciplinary issues because of work attendance problems and you are reaching out to them to make sure they understand the current policy and know where they personally stand with their attendance.

Remind Employees About FMLA and any State Benefits and Requirements

FMLA, and state laws modeled on it, may cover your employees’ absences if they relate to taking care of medical issues for their children. However, as you know, FMLA is not a blanket excuse for missing work.

You may need to remind employees that if they want to take FMLA leave, they first need to meet certain requirements. Many employees are also under the mistaken belief that FMLA offer unlimited days off. Correcting common misconceptions and reminding employees about their responsibilities under FMLA and similar state laws can help reduce absenteeism.

Encourage Being Proactive

When it comes to children, sometimes emergencies happen. But, many child-related absenteeism issues could be avoided with proper planning. Encourage employees to be proactive when it comes to filling out time off requests. Many schools publish a monthly, or even yearly, calendar of events. Employees should be encouraged to plan ahead for important events like concerts, graduations, and field trips.

The more proactive employees are with managing their schedules, the better it is for the employee and the company.

If childcare issues are a major problem for many employees, the company may want to consider changing or implementing a childcare support system at work. When parents have access to safe and convenient childcare, they are less likely to miss work

One way you can be proactive in dealing with back to school attendance issues is to document what challenges you are facing with your employees. You can use this to brainstorm other ways to address the issues throughout the year so that you are even better prepared when back to school time comes around next year.

Todd Miller

Written by Todd Miller

Director of Marketing, DHR

Todd leads DHR’s marketing department and is responsible for overall marketing strategy and execution. With nearly 15 years in the sourcing services and solutions space, Todd provides interesting insight on a variety of topics in this fast-paced and ever-changing industry.

Todd lives in Scottsdale with his two daughters and Collie/Shepard. One is a good boy.

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