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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingDecember 06 - December 12, 2017
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Managing Time-Off Requests

timeoff dcf66By Randall C. Resch

Today's work schedules are oftentimes difficult where it seems you're at work more than at home. If you're a tow company employee, children may suffer because you're forced to work odd hours only to bring home the bacon. Parents ultimately feel guilty because they can't arrange time to participate in their child's activities because they have to work.

Unless you're the company owner, reporting to work is a fact of life and limits your ability to be with your children as much as you'd like. Although you're doing everything you can to provide for your family, balancing work-home life can be difficult.

Although your kids come first, employees have a responsibility to the employer not to abuse time-off requests.

From the onset of your employment with the company, negotiate reasonable agreements with your employer that enable you time off. When you're aware of school activities, make every attempt to ask for time off well in advance or get approval to have another employee cover your shift. Most bosses will authorize requests in advance when they are not abused.

Spending time with your kids takes extra effort on your part as well as planning with your significant other. For single parents, the process may be even more difficult to find babysitters or daycare.

Be sure you're doing everything you can to be involved in their lives as much as possible. As your child grows towards teenage years, there may be resentment for parents who work too much or don't seem to care about the child's growth, self-esteem or their ever-changing set of hormones and confidences.

What does your company's policy manual say? Looking at this topic from both sides, I've found that the following practices work well:

• Bosses should be understanding when considering reasonable time-off requests for unforeseen situations like illnesses, emergencies or immediate school incidents.

• Owners have to stay within the boundaries of law enforcement or contract stipulation for minimum staffing.

• Contract requirements may not allow ride-alongs of family members; kids generally are not allowed to ride on calls.

• Consistency is mandatory when balancing kids and schedules to work around inconveniences.

• For employer and employee, it's a give-and-take situation.

There's another side of this coin where there are parents that abuse the system using their kids' activities for an excessive amount of time away. Because every employee's presence is important to the company's smooth operations and productivity, parents shouldn't abuse time off.

While no boss wants to be the "hard ass" and deny time-off requests, someone has to cover all aspects of field and office operations. Accordingly, time off requests should be authorized if there's ample time to cover an employee's absence. That also means what goes around comes around: when others need time off for justifiable reasons, everyone should step-up to cover time-off requests. It's a shared responsibility.

A well-balanced plan that allows you to spend as much time as possible with your child is healthy. There's no doubt that being a tow company employee means that there will be long, long hours away from the kids. It's what you do to make time off quality time when you're together that matters.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and online, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
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