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Hi all,

 

Need to get something off my chest!

 

Deep breath, a member of staff sent me a txt message saying she has hurt her back and wont be in for the rest of the week on Monday night. Am I getting old or am I the only one who does not think that this is very professional behaviour?

 

Your thoughts on the matter would be gratefully recieved, thank you

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I don't see it as unprofessional but I can see where you're coming from. As someone who is not at all confident on the phone, I will always consider email and text before using the phone. However, I have never 'text or emailed' in sick as I always feared someone not taking my illness as true and I wanted to speak to my manager. As a manager my staff always phoned me if they were off work.

 

However, I did once phone at 6am and left a answer phone message as I couldn't face hearing my manager's disappointment at being understaffed - I did have gastroenteritis though!

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Hi all,

 

Need to get something off my chest!

 

Deep breath, a member of staff sent me a txt message saying she has hurt her back and wont be in for the rest of the week on Monday night. Am I getting old or am I the only one who does not think that this is very professional behaviour?

 

Your thoughts on the matter would be gratefully recieved, thank you

 

i think a phone call would be better tbh, i think a txt only in extreme circumstances -ie d + v. do you have a staff handbook etc with the correct proceedure in?

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I am one who has done this, and I was manager ! and with back problem!

 

reason for doing it.. timing.. for me anyway, I could send a message when I was able to and know they would get it.. tried calling in past no reply leave a message and they don't check messages, somehow text was always looked at! and at 5am they really did not want the call!

 

also has staff do the same... did not worry me so long as they told me, was more worried about them not turning up and me not knowing. I would call them later in the day to see how they were if they had not called with an update.

 

think it will depend on setting and relationship you have as a team -

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I am one who has done this, and I was manager ! and with back problem!

 

reason for doing it.. timing.. for me anyway, I could send a message when I was able to and know they would get it.. tried calling in past no reply leave a message and they don't check messages, somehow text was always looked at! and at 5am they really did not want the call!

 

also has staff do the same... did not worry me so long as they told me, was more worried about them not turning up and me not knowing. I would call them later in the day to see how they were if they had not called with an update.

 

think it will depend on setting and relationship you have as a team -

 

I am another one who is comfortable with texting so long as it is followed up with more information as needed later. I am a mother getting children ready before school as are 90% of my staff. A text message is so much quicker and easier for me to tend to with my own children running around getting ready, same as I text other staff for cover in the morning. If I reply is not received I will then follow up with a call but so far text has worked all the way in the mornings for us. If they had to call at work, I would not receive the call until 20 mins before, which is too late to sort cover. By texting me I usually have an hour to sort out cover.

 

Clare

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We've moved on in our setting and know BBM!! Have to say I wouldn't be offended by a txt message from a member of staff, it usually means I have more time to sort out cover as the message will come in overnight or early in the morning!

 

Kris

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As others have said, a quick text message sent at 3am to say they are throwing up, which I get when I pick up my phone, gives me time to deal with it. I'd rather they did it that way, and then relaxed back into sleep or whatever. We're all texters and often text each other, so it's easier that way. Parents text in to say their children won't be in, and I get these when I arrive at work and check the phone. I text back during the morning for an update.

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I am a texter but I would not want a text message to say a member of staff couldn't come in. My mobile lives in my hand bag so that I don't go anywhere without it but I do not check it regularly. I would want a phone call to make sure that I got the message unless it had been previously agreed that a member of staff would text me so that I would know to check.

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Oh my goodness its official I am old! Kristina what is BBM?

 

Staff always phone me between 6.30 - 7.00 am if they are unable to come in, even if I had 2 other members of staff call in sick phone I would never say "oh your the 2nd one to phone in sick" or do anything that would make them feel uncomfortable about being off sick.

 

This issue had been addressed with this member of staff previously and I had asked her to please telephone me if she was going to be off as she had sent me a text one Sunday evening and I had not recieved it until Monday mid morning!

 

Following the text message I telephoned her house, her husband answered the phone and I asked to speak with her. His reply "I'm sorry but why do you want to speak with her, she has just sent you a text message?" I told him that was the reason for calling as I had previously explained text messages were not acceptable, he refused to let me speak with her saying she was in a great deal of pain, didnt like my attitude and insinuations (I had made none) and ranted on at me for 10 minutes before saying he would get her to phone me when she felt like it and put the phone down. I am still waiting..................

 

She has not seen a doctor only spoken to one over the phone who told her to rest.

 

I tried to call her mobile and house this afternoon to see how she was but got no reply and then finally her voice mail on her mobile where I left a message for her to phone me please. I am flaberghasted but what more can I do?

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Guest jenpercy

I was told that ringing staff at home could be seen as harassment.

 

my main problem with text (and indeed with answerphone messages is when staff don't check to see that you have got them. tyexting a phone that could get dropped down a toilet etc, or an answerphone that we all know tends to eat the name and phone number of the person phoning in is just not good enoufgh

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You are not just being old!!

 

I am relatively young (I keep telling myself anyway!!) and I cannot stand staff texting in sick, or getting other people to phone in for them. We even had it written in to out contract to say teting in sick was unacceptable.

 

Unless you have completely lost your voice there is no reason not to phone. Unless you speak to the person you don't even know the message has been received. I do think it is really unprofessional - i drove me mad!!

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Hi debster - I'm with you on this one - mind you I am very, very old! :o

 

Besides anything else the reception at my house is next to useless.........my mobile only picks up messages if it is placed on my desk! :( and it doesn't 'live' there - it lives in my work bag! :(

 

Her husband sounds like a complete nightmare xD

 

Good luck with it all! :(

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We always use text at my setting but then we are all comfortable with that so it is ok. However, I think the bigger issue is that you specifically said to ring not text in the past and it would annoy me if the staff member sent a text after that.

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Guest jenpercy

We have it in employee handbook that however they choose to notify us, they must persist until confirmation is received from a real human being. We added that if you can't get hold of anyone senior but you can get hold of a co-worker then do that.

 

we once had a situation where someone left a message we couldn't dicipher on our answerphone and so there was no one to pick up children, which we didn't know anything about until too late, and we had an unannounced OFSTED visit. they were not amused.

 

So what would you do if a member of staff just didn't show to pick up children, at a time when all your possible reliefs are picking up their own children and are uncontactable. You don't know - well OFSTED think you should!!!!!

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well, i text all my staff at least once a week to keep them updated, they text me any time to say if they are sick or of and i arrange cover this way. this is usually before i arrive at 8am so often can be seen rota in hand walikng to work sorting cover. all staff have children etc in the morning

 

but i text a lot annyway and lots of staff also do. so is ususal way for us.

 

my sons school texts if needed, but i do phone them but when i know is early and leave a message on the abcence line.

 

it think it is up to each setting!

 

right up to phone, am at present sorting cover for tomorrow as someone sick and just text me, so am tecxting that, while writing this and preparng for my mento to visit me at my placement tomorrow!

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In general, I guess it depends on what phone arrangements you have in your setting - we now have an answerphone that's always on and I tell students 'I don't mind if you phone at midnight on Saturday and leave a message on the answerphone...'

 

But since you've told her the specific protocol to follow, that's what she should have done. I'm currently having problems with my phone (or my childminder's) - I texted her yesterday, didn't need a reply so didn't think anything of not getting one. But she didn't have the text. Dunno what's happened to it, hope she doesn't get it at 3am!

 

I keep my mobile on all the time so would much rather not get a text in the middle of the night.

 

As she's not going to be in for a week, can she self-certificate or do you need a doctor's note? Think that may be more an issue than how she's contacting you...

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Hi all,

 

Need to get something off my chest!

 

Deep breath, a member of staff sent me a txt message saying she has hurt her back and wont be in for the rest of the week on Monday night. Am I getting old or am I the only one who does not think that this is very professional behaviour?

 

Your thoughts on the matter would be gratefully recieved, thank you

 

Hi,

No you are not getting old, I like to think speaking to someone is much more professional in our line of business.

 

Texting to say you are not attending work in my book is not acceptable.

 

Also it's not acceptable to receive important information regarding a child or children.

 

How do you know if your text has been received or even picked up on time.

 

Children are more important then a text message.

 

Keep up the way you work, like me using language to communicate with people!

 

Jayr :o

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I have to admit I used to text in sick at my last school, although to be fair the day I did it I had lost my voice! It was considered acceptable though, if you've told her before that it's not acceptable then it is unprofessional of her to continue to do it.

 

I tried to call her mobile and house this afternoon to see how she was but got no reply and then finally her voice mail on her mobile where I left a message for her to phone me please. I am flaberghasted but what more can I do?

 

You can't really do anymore and probably shouldn't in order to cover your own back. You can get into trouble for contacting employees who are off sick as it is deemed harrassment. Whilst she is within the allowable period of self-certification (7 days consecutively I think?) you shouldn't really ring her despite her unprofessional behaviour as in the eyes of the law she has let you know. I recommend waiting until she returns to raise the issue.

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Thanks for all your replies.

 

She did phone me yesterday to say that she could move about a little bit now but she would be going to the drs on Monday to get a sick note and thought she would be off for 4 weeks, so she will be back in January!!!

 

I asked her why her husband had been so rude to me when I was only calling to ask after her and to remind her that texting wasnt acceptable. She said he was upset after I had told her that she must attend her course even if it meant going in a wheel chair! What I had actually said was that if it was at all possible she should not bother coming into work before her course, a colleague would take her and bring her back.

 

She also denied having any knowledge that texting was unacceptable - have documented evidence that it was spoke about at a staff meeting but I can see that I have to have much stricter guidance in place now!

 

We are a very small unit of 5 staff that have worked together for the past 8 years as a team and I feel very let down by her attitude. I am now looking into employment law and ssp because I have a nasty feeling that things are going to have to be done exactly to the book. Any advice on law and protocol gratefully recieved.

 

I was also worried to hear that phoning her at home might be deemed as harassment!!!

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It does sound as if you need to proceed carefully. I'd make a note of all conversations including times, dates and so on. With regard to not 'harrassing' her at home, could you perhaps arrange specific dates for her to call you so that you can discuss issues about her return to work at times convenient to her?

 

It is hard when you feel so let down by someone's attitude, especially as you then have to rise above it and maintain some professional dignity and move the relationship forward.

 

It is a difficult life being the boss isn't it? :o

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Very wise words HappyMaz!

 

Yes hopefully she will telephone me after she has been to the drs on Monday to discuss her coming back to work because I will have to make sure that she is indeed 'fit for work' and have a informal chat to her to make sure she is happy at work and the lifting element of our job is minimised as much as possible.

 

Thank you

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Hi debster

 

We had a staff member with back troubles. I spoke to a very helpful person at ACAS to see what the correct procedure was. He suggested that we needed to have a meeting to talk about how we as a setting could help her, for instance temporarily changing how she worked, and equally what she was going to do as well. Because we are packaway other staff agreed to do all lifting for a while, and this really eased the load for her. She has now managed to get the situation sorted. I felt really glad afterwards that we approached it in a sensitive manner and I got a lot of good will from her as a result.

 

In terms of the text messaging, I would suggest that you put something in your staff handbook so that staff know the correct procedures to follow to call in sick. If it is in writing, and staff have agreed to those terms, then you would be within your rights to follow some kind of disciplinary procedure (e.g. informal warning first).

 

I wonder if everyone has got a bit heated here, and a quick chat in a relaxed way when she returns could help you resolve this?

 

A call to ACAS would I think be a really good idea. As an employer you have lots of duties to your employees. I found this perhaps the hardest thing about taking on the committee role - that staff have lots more rights than we do! But in the end that is probably a good thing to protect them. It can be hard though in a voluntary setting where we struggle to make ends meet.

 

Good luck.

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Ha ha ha thank you Kris, I have been asking all my staff what they thought it was but they didnt know either!

 

Thank you for the giggle yep we are old, I really should brush up.

 

Suzie C8, I have taken advice and we as a setting will do everything that we can to enable this staff member to come back to work but I certainly wont be letting her return until she has the 'fit to work' certificate from her doctor. Having suffered from back problems myself I can appreciate exactly how debilitating these are and certainly will not be putting her at risk from further harm.

 

Thank you all

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