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Entrepreneurs Panel

Brian Hay
David Pollock
Tony Caldeira
Michael Oliver
Charlie Mullins
Laura Tenison
Julie Meyer
Debbie Pierce
Richard O'Sullivan
Steve Purdham
Jeremy Roberts
Jennie Johnson

Romance in the workplace

Charlie Mullins

Former plumber Charlie Mullins founded Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 with a second hand van and a bag of tools. The business is now part of the Pimlico Group and provides a 24 hour, 365 days a year service, which completes more than 1,750 jobs per week. It operates out of a 30,000 square foot headquarters in Sail Street, near Westminster.

Question: 

Two of my employees have reportedly starting seeing each other. In the past I haven’t had a problem with relationships in the workplace but both staff members phoned in sick on the same day last month and I was told by a reliable source that they had both pulled a sickie. Where do I stand in terms of finding out if this is true and then disciplining those involved?

Answer: 

I think the answer to this one really depends on the company policy in relation to absenteeism.

There’s nothing much that can be done about your employees having relationships with each other and you’ll always get colleagues sniping about them, and sometimes keeping it under wraps can prove to be an impossible task no matter how hard you try to keep it secret, as we’ve seen with the infamous Fred The Shred (Fred The Bed, surely? –ed).

In regards to proving that they pulled a sickie, they will both deny it anyway and say they were genuinely ill on that day. If you think back to some of the ripping yarns we’ve heard here in the past, I would suggest putting in place an attendance management plan. Management responsibility and commitment is the largest single factor in reducing absenteeism. Where no commitment exists, employees will see absenteeism as being the accepted norm.

To make it work, though, you have to have ensure you spend a considerable amount of time, on a day-to-day basis, to communicate the importance of attendance to employees, investigate all absence, wherever necessary hold disciplinary hearings and make unpleasant decisions.

Or, you could always do what I did and go out and hire a HR manager to do it all for you!

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