I have an employee who has been out on Mat leave since beginning of October. She is scheduled to come back beginning of Jan. Today I received an email from our employee asking if she can work the following schedule for the month of Jan: two week 3 days on, two off and then another two 2 days on, 3 off. This is due to COVID and not wanting to put the child in daycare (which I totally get). Not being in a situation like this before, how do I respond?

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Depends if she is trying to cut her hours permanently or temporarily. I would try to accommodate it and ask her how long she is hoping to work these limited hours etc

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If her hours are being cut (whether permanent or temporarily) ensure you draft a new employment offer describing responsibilities, benefits entitlements, new required working hours / week, length of "contract."

Do you have any remote options that the employee can take being that she can’t participate full-time in the office due to Covid?

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We are all remote! She also has been working remote for us since she started. I have no issue with supporting her requests because of this unique time we are in, but sometimes managers or management only think of the work/clients vs people’s needs ☺️

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What is your company’s Covid Policy. Are you her manager? I think her request seems reasonable.

We are all remote currently, however, she has been working remote for us for three years. I am not her manager, but he is on the email. So I want to make sure before I chat with him I have a good idea on how to approach it.

Does your current Mat leave policy include a phase back or job share option, or your covid plan include reduced schedule options? My current company and last company offered this before covid and I find that not everyone uses the phase back option, but with covid it seems to be used a tad bit more and brings people back from leave vs taking really extended leave.
I also am seeing reduced scheduling/altered schedule options pop up at a lot of places this year, but think this will be something that is here to stay at many organizations. I think people in this plan generally are not abusing it and really are very engaged in their work, as long as the time spent focuses on results, not hours logged, this model works great.

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