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improvement and good agency citizenship, it must be irrelevant. Does
coming to work on time affect the client? Yes, of course it does. Does
getting reports in on time affect the client? Very often it does. Is being a
good team player good for the agency? I think so, but what does that
mean? Is knowing agency polices and procedures good for the client?
Maybe, but do we have evidence that not knowing them very well is bad
for clients? I don't know, but I'd certainly want to find out if I were a
And finally, let's be clear about wrongful termination suits and
worker grievances against supervisors. The best defense against wrongful
termination charges are well-done evaluations that spell out how the
worker's performance compares with the agency's standards of perfor-
mance. If a worker isn't performing and the standards are realistic, you
have vital protection against a possible law suit
if you terminate a
We expect workers to come to work on time, be on time for client inter-
views, stay through the entire day, and not take extended coffee or lunch
breaks. We can measure all of these behaviors by using time cards or
check-in procedures. We should not tolerate attendance problems unless,
of course, we use flextime, which is the best way to take care of individ-
ual reasons for coming late (taking children to school, elderly parents to
care for, etc.). I'm in favor of focusing on getting the work done and
allowing wide variations including flextime and working from home.
This assumes that the work will get done and that productivity won't
suffer. If it doesn't, I'm all in favor of either alternative. But assume that
for good reasons, you need workers to work from the office (I can think
of child protective workers who worry about
security problems,
example), then simple rules are always the best.
Attendance Objectives “All workers must be to work on time
unless other arrangements have been made and approved by the worker's
supervisor in advance and in writing. Workers who come late will be
docked in pay proportionate to the time they've missed. Staying late does
not offset the late fee. The same can be said of workers who leave early.
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