An Open Letter To All Employers.
While I, myself, am not a mother, I work for mothers. Or, should we say in the past I have worked for them. Between daycare jobs and nannying jobs, moms have been my bosses for the majority of my work life. And there’s one thing that always comes up. And I do mean always. This is very much a solid happening. I get at least one call per month from a mother who needs me to come sit at home with her sick kid because the daycare won’t let them in and mom can’t stay home from work without being penalized in some way.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind filling in for mamas when it comes to sick littles. But it’s not the same thing. I have a friend who will remain anonymous, along with her company, who could still lose her job even with a doctor’s note. Now, I get it … to a point. You need your workers so that your company can be productive. But how productive is it when you have four workers show up with various flus and pneumonias and other contagious illnesses that they are now passing around to each other. Nobody can ever get well because the moment their immune system tries to make a comeback, it gets hit by another germ.
As some of you know, little kids are germ factories. If one gets sick, they’re pretty much all going to get sick. You want to know why? Because they’re too little to understand how to taking universal precautions. I mean, let’s be real here - there are plenty of adults who don’t follow universal precautions themselves. How can we expect a child under the age of say … 5 to be able to take them. Sure, as daycare teachers we do our best to sanitize everything every chance we get. We seclude the sickies at naptime away from the healthy kids in hopes of creating a barrier. We even wash their hands and faces as much as we can.
But that’s not the problem. No, the problem lies with you, dear Employer. Because there are parents who have such strict sick day/personal day/time off policies that they will dose their feverish child up before bringing them to school. Do you know how long Motrin lasts? 6 hours. That means that if they drop their child off at 8am, we won’t find out until said child wakes up from their nap that they’re running a fever. And guess what? A fever masked by medicine doesn’t mask the germs they have. They’re going to make other children sick.
At the age of 28, I came down with a virus usually only seen in toddlers and infants because so many of my toddlers had it, that I just couldn’t escape it. And even though it was my own illness and not a child’s, it cost me my job because of how sick I was. My Hand, Foot, and Mouth turned into bronchitis which lead to me still running a fever. The doctor would allow me to go back to work and DCYF’s attitude is “well, you better be in ratio” so they had to let me go and find someone that could help keep them in ratio.
And again, I go back. I really do understand that you need your workers there. I understand that if they don’t do their jobs, you can’t do yours, and your company fails. But there has to be something that can be done. Leeways that can be put into place. For office jobs - let your secretaries and clerks and accountants come in on a Saturday to get work from the week done. Yes, I know, you’re going to have to pay them, but the day(s) they took off during the week were either sick time or personal days and in a lot of jobs, if you don’t have any hours logged, you don’t get paid.
If your employee can work from home, please let them. Maybe it’s not the most professional thing in the world, but it is the best of both worlds. Baby isn’t Patient Zero at daycare and while Baby is napping, mom (or dad, but I see this happening more with the moms) can get her work done. There has to be a solution that you, the Employer, can come up with that will make you, your employee, and the sick wee bairn (sorry, I went Scottish for a moment) all happy at the same time.
It’s tough out there these days. I understand that better than anyone. There’s so many unemployed people and not enough jobs to go around. So you, the Employer, can give the ultimatum. “If you can’t do this job, I’ll find someone else who can.” But you know what. Stop for a moment and think about that. Think about your employee. Will you really be able to find someone as good as them? Aren’t they with you company because they do good work and you like how they get along with the rest of the staff?
In the end, it comes down to people. We have to stop looking at people as employees and nothing else. We have to start appreciating their whole. Their value to their employer, their family, and to themselves. I bet more people wouldn’t need anti-anxiety drugs if we could all start treating each other like humans and less like cogs in a machine. A little understanding, in my experience, is going to go a very, very long way.
Kindness is free. Sprinkle it wherever you may go.