I also had this issue when I owned a retail business years ago. There's a fine line between being a 'mean' boss, and doing your job, but let's set the perspective correctly.
I think you need to explain to your employees that the reason they were hired was to serve the needs of the business, not to cater to the personal convenience of the employees.
I think a lot of employees, particiularly young ones and part-timers, don't understand or appreciate this, but that's just the way it is.
So here's the way I explained it to my employees:
If you require time off, we will make every attempt to TRY to accomodate you. Stress the word 'try'--that does not mean it is guaranteed. The sooner in advance the request is made, the
better chance of being able to accomodate the request by finding somebody else to cover the shift. If you can, you can. If you cannot, you cannot----that's just the way it has to be. Again,
the employee was hired to serve the needs of the business, not vice-versa. If it is not possible to honor the request, and/or either management or the employee is able find suitable replacement
for the shift, then the employee will be responsible for working the assigned shift.
I think you also need a policy that unexcused failure to show for an assigned shift will result in immediate termination. Otherwise, you'll have a classic case of the inmates running the asylum.
I know this may sound a little extreme. But nobody said management was easy.
Great answer Barry.
As the manager of this store, you must also make certain that you are complying with all local and state labor regulations.
We live in an age where everybody is ready to sue so be careful.
Try contacting the Regulatory Boards at your state capital.
Also run it past YOUR company lawyer. The lawyer might have some interesting input.
Luckiest makes some very good points. While on the subject of legal issues and our lawsuit-happy society, let me add the following:
I believe that documention and 'paper trail' are very important tools to help avoid employers being victimized by frivolous lawsuits. Among other things, this means that every employee, even part-timers, should be shown and sign some sort of job description form prior to starting, so that there is no mis-understanding as to the requirements and expectations of the job should push ever come to shove. For instance, if weekends or late shifts are required....say so in writing. If X number of unexcused absenses are cause for dismissal....say so in writing (and document aka 'write up' each infraction so you are able to defend yourself against unemployment comp claims).
Yes, it's unfortunately, and a hassle to deal with so much paperwork. But one needs to defend him/herself these days.
Great conversation, guys! Very informative.
If not, then the answer to time off has to be no. However, if there is enough coverage and the work will be completed then the time off is not an issue. Lets face it more often then not there is down time during the day when the staff is doing their best to "look busy". There always seems to be those who dont really want to work, they can go "not" work for someone else. I also find that there are those who not only want to work who excel at the tasks before them, set a good example, and are willing to do more then their fair share. Those ppl get the proper compensation.
I'm the lead/manager of a small store in San Diego ca. I'm trying to set a time off request policy for our employees since we been having problems with two of our part-time girls asking for too much time off request. They both work between 20-25hrs a week and from Jan 1st to May 1st they have both ask for 25days off already and has been conflicting with our schedule. I want to present the owner of the store with a new policy but since I'm new to this management position so I need help and some new ideas. Your ideas will be greatly appreciated.