I own a small business and would really appreciate a little advice on the right way to handle a situation with an employee.
she works part-time (afternoons) and is a (sort of) single parent. another person does the same role part-time (mornings). The role is a mix of fairly standard admin tasks and customer service, plus work on our marketing.
She underperforms - i.e. she 'forgets' to do routine reports and so on. She doesn't meet her targets. She 'hides' work she is unsure of what to do with (even routine stuff). She keeps talking about how intelligent she is and how she'd like to do more (she has 2 degrees) but we can't really trust her to take responsibility for anything. When we try, she 'forgets' to do the project. She also has a high rate of absence through sickness and emergency days off. We have adjusted her hours at her request for the last year to help her childcare arrangements. There are many minor incidents - for example one day she came in and sat and ate lunch for the first 20 minutes - she only works 1-4.30 so she doesn't get a lunch-break, and when told to get on with her work threw a right strop. Frankly, she has been undermanaged (by me) and now I've started paying her closer attention and she knows new targets and performance monitoring are coming in from1 Sep for both of the people doing this job (the other lady is excellent).
She spoke to me a couple of weeks ago about how stressed she is about money and childcare and other personal things she didn't specify. She requested a week's holiday to go to Disneyland with friends to 'relax', at short notice. We agreed. She then also didn't come in the day before the agreed leave dates as she was 'packing'. She went on holiday, returned for a couple of days, then went sick. We've just received a doctor's sick note giving her 2 weeks off for 'work-related stress'.
Frankly, we want her out. 2nd choice will be to tackle the underperformance and absenteeism, as she is good in some ways. She's been here 2 years and we hoped she would mature. Hasn't happened.
What should we do now to comply with the law and so that if the situation doesn't improve, we can dismiss her legally? Should we ask her to put in writing the causes of her 'work-related' stress? Do childcare/personal problems count towards that?
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