A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

A real-life Scrooge story

Posted by Janet Smith on January 27, 2009

Even though Christmas was more than a month ago, I just heard a real-life Scrooge story that I’ve got to share.

A group of employees working in a small office told me that they each have a certain number of paid sick days each year, but to discourage their use the company has a policy of paying $50 for every sick day not used at the end of each year. (I don’t necessarily support this policy, but that’s beside the point!)

Most of the employees said they try hard to stay healthy (or at least, not call in sick) throughout the year and like the opportunity to get an extra $250.00 at holiday time. So last month, they were expecting the boss to distribute the sick day checks, as he’d done every year for quite a few years.

Except he didn’t.

At the very moment the employees were anticipating the extra money they’d earned by following company policy, the boss said he couldn’t afford to pay them this year for the unused sick days. No warning. No advance notice. No apology. And no attempt by the boss to limit his description of the Christmas lavish gifts he had purchased for his wife and kids.

We all know that as revenues decline, benefits and perks get cut. We get that. But in this small office with just a handful of employees, the sick pay payout didn’t add up to a large amount (especially compared with the cost of the boss’s holiday vaca). To those employees who had faithfully come to work over the past 12 months, though, the abrupt removal of the benefit-after the benefit had been earned-felt mean and unfair. And you can bet that this boss won’t get it when his employees don’t go an extra mile for him. He’ll be lucky to get an inch or two.

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