Running out of sick leave is a terrible feeling, and it’s even worse if you have a sick child.
But one recruitment executive’s response to a worker going through that experience has gone viral on LinkedIn, with workers around the world praising his actions.
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“Silently she was sobbing at her desk, early at about 7:45 AM. I asked her if everything was OK?” recruitment executive Bernie Reifkind wrote.
“She told me that her child was sick and that she had been up all night. Bags under her eyes.”
Asked why she was at work, the employee said she had run out of sick days and couldn’t afford a day outside of the office.
“I sent her home and promised that she would get paid. In addition, I wrote her a check on the spot for extra money to alleviate her immediate financial worry,” Reifkind said.
“She was incredibly grateful. To this day, she is my best employee not just because of her talent but her loyalty.”
Continuing, Reifkind called on employers to understand that “most people are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders”.
He said children, partners, older parents, mortgage, surprise bills and study can all add up to an unbearable level of stress.
“People are worried about their jobs. PLEASE reassure your hard working employees that their jobs are secure, whenever possible. Loyalty goes both ways.”
His post has gone on to receive thousands of comments and tens of thousands of likes, as employees and employers weighed in on his actions.
“This is the type of support everyone should strive to find in their leaders,” one person said.
“What a great example of how to operate. Life happens to all of us and sometimes it's messy,” added another.
“This is great of you for taking the time to recognise this need and moving with a positive reinforcement of 'we've got your back'. Too many times employers try to detach themselves from their employees but the loyalty then only runs so deep.”
“I couldn't agree more. Years ago I had challenges of being a single parent to two children, one special needs. It didn’t matter that I worked harder than anyone else or that I more than made up for a day I had to leave early, the employer only remembered that I did leave early,” another person weighed in.
“Respect the people who work for you, treat them with kindness, and that will build the kind of loyalty you want as an employer. I've never forgotten that.”
However, others questioned whether a policy which led a worker to go into work while their child was sick was a bigger problem.
“Seems like a much deeper issue that a mother of a sick child felt like she needed to fight through tears and make her way to the office,” one LinkedIn member said.
“I don’t know all the details, but what I can tell from your summary, sending her home was certainly kind but it sounds like it was your decision to make, not hers.”
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