Have you ever worked a menial job where your manager only allowed call-outs if the employee calling out could find coverage for their own shifts?
The “finding coverage” idea applies to everything, from needing a Saturday off for a wedding to an entire vacation and even taking a sick day.
It’s a Ridiculous Ask
A user of the popular R/antiwork community on Reddit posted a vent about the common practice, calling it absurd.
“How am I supposed to find someone in less than an hour when there are only some people with available phone numbers, half of the people I text are busy, and a third of them don’t respond because I only gave them an hour’s notice?” they asked.
If You Can’t Find Coverage, You Must Come In
In jobs where employees are responsible for finding coverage, the rule is generally that you must come in if you can’t find someone to replace you.
That means sick employees have no choice but to come in when ill because they risk losing their jobs if they don’t. It also means they risk infecting their customers and spreading illness throughout the community because the positions with these policies typically fall under food service and general retail.
It is Not Just Sick Leave, Though
Although forcing employees to come in when sick is the most glaring problem, we can’t negate the impact on employee well-being and work-life balance.
No one’s job owns them (except the military). People should be free to have lives outside of work. If someone needs time off for family events, vacations, or any other reason, they should be able to have it, no questions asked.
Work Needs People
We get that most companies need workers to function, and when employees need time off, it cuts into operations.
But Who’s Responsibility is Coverage?
It’s crucial to remember that coverage isn’t an employee’s responsibility. If a business doesn’t have enough people to cover sick and vacation days, they need to hire more people, not burn out their employees.
And Who is Responsible for Scheduling?
Most employees aren’t in charge of scheduling; that’s a management function. Managers decide who works what shifts, which shifts need extra people, and how to run their store best.
A good manager would work with their employees to ensure appropriate coverage while offering everyone the best work-life balance, but as we all know, good management is tough to find.
Instead, managers fill the schedule however they see fit, refusing to engage employees in the process. If an employee doesn’t like it, it’s up to them to find a swap.
Managers Should Step In
Sometimes, an employee calls in sick shortly before their shift, and finding coverage is impossible. In these cases, the manager should step in and work the shift or accept that the staffing will be low and find ways to deal with it.
The manager’s job is to ensure the shift runs smoothly, not the employee’s.
Work Culture Makes It Employee’s Responsibility
America’s toxic work culture ensures employees get the short end of every stick. They have management responsibility without getting paid and limited options for taking time off, even when sick.
Employees must push back on toxic management practices and collectively say they won’t accept it to affect change.