Skip to comments.Automotive supplier cracks down on absenteeism (Delphi wants access to medical records)
Posted on 05/11/2005 4:59:40 AM PDT by wmichgrad
TROY, Mich. (AP) Delphi Corp., intent on containing costs in tough times, is cracking down on absenteeism by threatening to withhold pay or vacation days from hourly employees who refuse to sign waivers releasing their medical records.
The Troy-based automotive supplier had had a less formal policy asking workers to sign medical record releases. In April, however, Delphi revised the waiver form to give employees fewer choices over what records are released and by more aggressively investigating absences it considers suspicious.
"If the employee will not sign the `consent to release medical information' form, management will have to make its decision as to the reasonability of the cause for absence with the limited information it has at its disposal," according to a memo outlining the policy provided to The Detroit News.
Signing the waivers is optional for Delphi's 34,000 U.S. employees covered by the policy, and workers can limit the information that is released, company spokeswoman Luce Rubio said. But workers who withhold access to their medical records may face repercussions, she said.
"If Delphi is unable to identify that the absence is medically necessary, it may be treated as unexcused and they may be charged with vacation time," Rubio said.
The company negotiated the waiver policy with the United Auto Workers union, Rubio said. But Gregg Shotwell, a member of UAW Local 2151 which represents workers at a Delphi plant in Coopersville near Grand Rapids, said he was concerned that the policy could encourage Delphi to "push it as far as they can" and take even more invasive measures.
Delphi is about $4 billion in debt and is likely to report large losses in 2005, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said last month in lowering the company's credit rating further into "junk" status. Delphi has struggled because of high steel prices and production cuts at General Motors Corp., from which it was spun off in 1999.
On the Net:
Delphi Corp., http://www.delphi.com
Information from: The Detroit News, http://www.detnews.com
Unless you are a union employer, in which case everyone in the same classification gets the same wage regardless of competence or use or abuse of sick days. And you can't give a bonus to one employee unless you give the bonus to all within that particular employment classification, and if I recall correctly, Federal Law prohibits a union employer from paying a bonus of any kind unless the bonus is bargained for as part of the collective bargaining pprocess. Fire the employee for cause? Yeah,right. Only if you're willing to endure the time and expense of a lengthly grievance process followed by arbitration.
"Unfortunately, too many employees behave like children by calling in "sick" so they can play golf, go to the ball game, or do their Christmas shopping."
To true. I would suggest the solution to this issue is that all sick days are eliminated and an equivalent amount of vacation days is added. Then allow employees to take their vacation days any time they want/need to, even if no planning has taken place. When they run out of vacation days, they can take time off without pay.
A rational adult in a job owes allegience to the duty that job entails. For many jobs, time on the clock is NOT the duty. Performance is, production is. It is irrational -- inappropriately childish or parentish -- to put time-on-the-clock before performance or production in many, if not most jobs.
Greeters, receptionists, security guards, watchmen and retail clerks -- those are time-on-the-clock jobs. I can't think of any others right now, I'm sure there are -- but the number is VERY limited. I do NOT include appointment type jobs --doctors, salesmen, lawyers, advisors, repairmen, etc. -- in the time-on-the-clock category. They have a felxibility in scheduling.
Even school teachers, bus drivers, train engineers -- I would count them more to appointment type jobs, although time-on-the-clock does come into play with those -- it is performance and NOT mere appearance that is paramount.
The problem with what you have suggested is that most employees don't abuse the sick time and as result the cost to the employer is significant. For example, suppose I own a business with 20 employees and each employee gets 15 vacation days and 10 sick days per year. Assume four of those employees abuse the sick days and use all 10 for reasons other than illness, and the remaining 16 employees only use 3 sick days a year for days they are actually sick. The total number of work days lost per year to vacations/sick time is 398. However, if I eliminate the 10 sick days and give everyone 25 vacation days as you have suggested, then you can bet that all 20 of my employee will use each of their 25 vacation days, thereby increasing the total number of work days lost per year from 398 to 500.
OK, pick another number. I think most employees would be for it and it would protect their medical records privacy.
I would see to it that I had a substantial file of fraud on quite a number of employees, then in one fell swoop I would fire them all at the same time on the same date.
If that didn't awaken the other employees I would repeat it until I had a solid and reliable employee base from which to operate my business.
The last thing I would want to do is open my company up to a possible civil suit for a supervisor revealing confidential medical information about an employee.
I like that suggestion. And it might work; even in a union environment.
There is a law if I am not mistaken regarding AIDS. A person requesting medical leave does not have to disclose the illness--it is confidential. I believe AIDS was the motivating factor regarding this but I am not sure.
I don't get it. What kind of business are they running? Figure out the benefits you can afford to pay and limit the compensation package to that. Several companies that I work with (Defense contractors-- engineering) doen't even have sick leave... just leave. 45 days/year for illness, vacation, or whatever you please... problem solved. If a company gives it's workers more sick and family leave than they can afford to support whose fault is it? Assume it will be abused and limit it to what you can afford to pay out. Move out of states with Unions and take your business elsewhere
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