Your HR Questions Answered

We aim to give our readers and followers the best advice when it comes to managing people effectively. Every month you can read a digest of some HR questions that might be relevant for you.

Q: How do I deal with the situation where one of my employee can’t come to work because her kid is home sick from school with flu and she says she has no child care to mind him?

A: At this time of year, this is a fairly typical question we get asked especially when the government have advised parents to keep their kids home from school to avoid the spread of the flu virus and winder cold virus.

While it’s important for employers to be supportive these kinds of situations can be very difficult to manage. The employee in question is probably finding the situation of a sick child difficult, and its understandable that the welfare of their child is a priority. Therefore give them the time off they need and if they are available to work remotely during this time off, that’s great but it may not be possible for them to juggle family and work in these circumstance.

Our advice would be firstly to keep communication channels open with the employee, find out if they have any availability to work from home. You could think of managing this situation in a similar way to how you managed the recent bad weather conditions, where employees were unable to travel to work.

If you both can be as flexible as possible around workload and deadlines, you might find that a good portion of the work will get done outside of normal hours because the employee appreciates your flexibility and understanding.

If this isn’t possible, then you could offer the employee the opportunity to take some annual leave, or some unpaid leave if this is something you have provision for in your handbook. There may be an opportunity also to work back the hours missed, so discussing this with the employee will help you both come to some arrangement.  

Q: Someone on my team wants to book out all of their holidays for the rest of the year already. I’m concerned that others on the team might need time off at the same time but aren’t as organised as this employee and it might cause problems when the summer holiday rota is being organised. What should I do? I don’t really want to penalise this employee for being organised but at the same time it is only January.

A: Even though it is January, the more organised of us will already be planning their holidays for the year ahead. Depending on your usual holiday policy, make sure everyone on the team is aware that they need to consider their plans for the year, so that you don’t delay this employee from making their holiday bookings.

This employee might have plans to travel somewhere in particular or there might be a family wedding that they need additional time off for, or there may be a special celebration coming up, or just an adventure they have been saving up for for years.

If there are certain times of the year where holiday cover for certain roles is critical, then speak to the team about this, and make sure everyone understands the requirements of the company as well as the personal requests of the individuals.

We have a team of trained and skilled investigators and consultants who have extensive experience in this area and would be happy to discuss any issue of concern with you. Just email us on or call Ingrid on 01 5252914.