Friday, November 16, 2012

Leave is Leave

A court case wrapped up in Germany, and basically...there was a very big twist to life as it was accepted.  Generally, a German can call up the boss in the morning and state they are sick, and they are not going to show up today.  No note or such.  The second morning?  Typically, you need to go and get a note from a doctor to cover the second or more days necessary.  Well....a court case has determined that you just might need to have a note to cover the first day.

This is a bit of a twist because millions of Germans use the old rule of just taking a sick day here and there....maybe five to ten a year....without every going for the note.

If you go and talk to most German small businessmen....they will all admit that the 2nd of January, if it falls on a work-day, there's always thirty percent of your work-force who call and state they are sick.  It's a lousy day to conduct business for most companies.

How many sick-days does a German get? typically doesn't work that way.  If a German guy needs forty days to recover from surgery....he gets it.  No discussion.  But there's a note from the doctor to detail that.  The boss cooperates with the notes provided.  If the doctor stops recovery period, then that employee needs to start back to work immediately.

This all brings me to my favorite "sick-German" story.

There was a BX-run Burger King manager who arrived and spent several months managing his Army post Burger King in Germany.  He knew the shift-managers, and the junior employees.  Somewhere around eight months after he arrived....he's come down to some paperwork on employees.  There's two Germans listed on the paperwork....who he is not familiar with.

So he asks....who are these two Germans?  He's never met them.

The HR folks basically lay out this little issue with his Burger King operation.  These two German employees have stress-related issues.  For roughly a year, they've both been in stress-related programs and under treatment.  The BX....because they are German employees....has been paying them their monthly salaries with full benefits.

The manager is standing there....looking at roughly twelve months of free leave that the BX had granted these two German employees.  He wanted an estimate on when his employees would return.  The HR folks couldn't answer that.  So the manager wanted to go through the process of letting them go.  Oh no, as the HR folks responded....there are German rules on this and you can't fire or lay-off a German employee under these conditions.

So weeks go by and this manager is peeved over the deal.  Nothing like this would happen in America.  You'd let the guy go if they were that stressed out.

So eventually, he went through the system and found this simple could move people around in the BX system.  So he worked out a deal where the two Germans were to move into a pizza operation run by the BX.  Same pay....same work deal....just half-a-mile from the Burger King.  The pizza manager was willing to carry two stressed-out Germans on his payroll.

Naturally, the HR guys try to stop this, and the Union gets involved.  Everything went into a simmering situation after that.

It's been around a dozen years since the episode.  I would imagine that the two Germans are still on stress-leave, still working for the Burger King on post, and the BX is probably still paying their monthly checks.  It's just the way that things work.

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