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Computer Tech’s human resources director certainly faces a very difficult decision whether or not to prolong Maura Currier’s FMLA leave. On the one hand, it is clear that given the fact that Currier has worked for the company for four years, she has accumulated a lot of valuable experience in dealing with the specific duties of a head supervisor. Such a position demands a lot of knowledge but above all, it demands having good contacts with the subordinated employees and it takes time to build up such relationships within a group. It is clear that losing such a worker would present the company with a serious handicap and could damage its productiveness. Furthermore, the difficult situation she faces in her private life is something that everyone has to understand because being the only one capable of helping a sick parent places ultimate responsibility on the individual. What is more, everyone in the company empathizes with her and is willing to support her. However, certain facts go against prolonging the leave.
The newly passed FMLA act
First off, the newly passed FMLA act places a technical obstacle on prolonging the leave which is very difficult to overcome. Namely, in the act, it is clearly stated that the employee can use up as much as 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a year to take care of a sick parent. The company has already been maximally supportive in terms of distributing the time of the leave in a way that was most suitable to Currier. She has had 60 Fridays off work thereby using up all the available time for the unpaid leave. It is very difficult to go against established rules even in cases where it seems completely justified. In addition, there is also a problem concerning the increased workload of other workers who even though they are willing to give full support to Currier, feel that they cannot cope with the increased amount of work.
If I were the human resources director, there is no doubt that I would have much difficulty in deciding how to act in this case. However, despite all the supportiveness and understanding I have for her issue, I would have to decide against prolonging her leave.
The main reason for that is the fact that one has to have certain formal regulations that govern his work and it is clear that all possibilities in this respect have been used up and any further extension would be in breach of the company’s policy. In addition, it is unfair towards the workers to suffer an extremely heavy workload despite their willingness to help. Nevertheless, given the fact that Currier is in a very difficult situation and that she is of great value to the company, I would certainly seek other means of helping her to keep her within the company’s workforce. The possibilities for such help are perhaps to be sought on another front and I would consider some kind of financial help. For example, it would perhaps be possible to increase her wage or provide some kind of bonus that could cover the expenses of getting medical and housekeeping services for her mother. That way Currier would not be forced to spend so much time helping her and could devote her energy to working full time. This would also probably have a positive influence on her work motivation since she would have a sense of gratitude towards the company for being supportive in a difficult situation. I think that it is important to respect the regulations imposed by the company’s policies, but they should not be a barrier to helping valuable employees when they fully deserve it and it is always possible to find a solution.
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