our boss is being a jerk about bereavement leave for miscarriages — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

My company recently updated our bereavement policy. While reviewing it in our company-wide staff meeting, a staff member asked if a miscarriage would qualify and the immediate answer was “no.” No room for discussion. The temperature of the room immediately dropped; it was so uncomfortable.

I am not a mother, have ever been pregnant, or plan to be, but I cannot imagine the heart ache of going through a miscarriage. I would not even give a second thought to granting bereavement leave to one of my staff if they came to me saying they had/are having a miscarriage. Not only is this such a traumatic physical experience, but it’s also an emotionally traumatic experience. Technically speaking, there was a loss of life. As a manager, I’m of the mindset that bereavement really isn’t an area where I want to get nitpicky with my staff and instead want to be as supportive as possible. Granted, I’m very aware that there are staff who will take advantage of the system, but I’m not talking about this.

To add to that, we are nonprofit specifically focusing on the well-being of families with a big emphasis on mothers and children. I don’t see how we as an organization can advocate for women but not even support the staff who work here when it comes to this.

We’ve had multiple staff come to upper management very upset and we agreed with them. We forwarded on the concerns to our executive director, and these are the questions she came back with:

Things to keep in mind:
• How do we define this?
• From the moment it starts? Or is it at this point a medical condition?
• Do we consider for all the time it last? Once is over, then bereavement starts?
• Do we require medical statements? How do we manage this time?
• Do people need to report they are pregnant? By when? Is this a HIPPA problem?
• It is the same to miscarriage at one month of pregnancy as at three or six months?
• People have asked for bereavement for pets, they say they are family to them. Do we include this as well? We already made bereavement more flexible.
We already give everyone 11 paid holiday days, plus a minimum of 12 days PTO (this is annual and sick combined) for those starting in the agency. When we upped the PTO, it was for employees to have enough time to take care of their lives when needed. That is not how people look at it.

Our company is 99% female and about 80% are of child-rearing age and are planning on having children in the future. We had an employee come to us today who is going through a miscarriage and she does not have enough PTO available so she is working through it because she doesn’t want to go on leave without pay. It breaks my heart. I don’t want to create an environment where staff are scared to tell their supervisor about this because they’re scared they won’t be supported or will be asked intrusive questions or for documentation.

I’ve done some research and see that a lot of companies/states are starting to implement bereavement leave for miscarriages. (Our governor even signed a bill putting this into law for all state employees.) Is this something companies should be offering? Are we being delusional?

Your executive director sucks.

There’s so much to rip apart here that it’s hard to know where to start, but let’s start with the 12 days of sick and vacation time combined. So people get the two weeks of vacation that’s considered the absolute bare minimum, stingiest level acceptable in the U.S., plus two sick days? And this is an increase from a lower amount before that? And she thinks that’s enough for vacation, sick time, and “taking care of their lives when needed”?

She’s delusional if she really believes that. She’s also delusional if she thinks this is competitive with other employers. It’s not.

As for her other questions: You don’t need to define “miscarriage”; it already has a medical definition. You trust employees to decide for themselves when they’re experiencing a miscarriage that bereavement leave would be appropriate for. You say “three days” or “up to five days” or whatever you land on. You don’t require people to report that they’re pregnant ahead of time; that’s unnecessary. You don’t require medical statements because that’s an unnecessarily layer of intrusive bureaucracy when you can simply trust your employees not to abuse this. If someone is abusing any kind of sick or bereavement leave, you ensure you have competent managers and HR who will address it; you provide them with support and training so they can do that. It’s not a HIPAA problem because HIPAA has nothing to do with someone choosing to self-disclose to an employer (HIPAA covers what health care providers can disclose). It has nothing to do with pets; that can be considered as a separate issue if you want to, but by raising that she’s clearly just trying to yell “slippery slope” when in fact it’s not.

Your executive director is trying to manipulate you with her long list of questions into thinking this is unworkable. It’s not. Other organizations offer miscarriage leave. Your own state offers it to government employees. This is not an impossible thing to work through. She just wants you to think it is.

That’s before we even get into how unaligned this is with the organization’s mission.

She just doesn’t want to give people more leave. That’s already clear from the obscenely paltry amount she’s been willing to grant, which she’s trying to somehow sell as generous; her resistance is simply in line with that.

It sounds like a lot of the organization’s leadership disagrees with her, so you’re well positioned to push back as a group. But I’d bet a significant amount of money that this is symptomatic of larger issues with your executive director and how she views employees.

Source link

Receive the latest news

Ready to find your dream job?​

Receive personalized alerts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities. Don’t miss out – start your journey to success today!

By signing up now, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use and to receive emails from us.

Skip to content