Why we love HR

Government contractor pilot fish is an employee of a big international company -- right up until his division is sold to another big company.

"Expectations were that the new company, which was mostly services, would better understand government contracting than the old company, which was hardware oriented," says fish.

"And we brought the old company's HR staff for this division along with us, so everyone expected most processes, such as holiday policies, to remain the same."

But a month after the sale is complete, fish's boss calls him in, and apologetically explains that, according to HR, fish needs to record four hours of his vacation time on a national holiday to add to the four hours fish recorded that he worked.

It seems HR doesn't care that the four work hours on the holiday just filled out fish's 40 hours for the week. Or that the day before the holiday, fish worked 12 hours at the customer's request. Or that fish arranged with his manager in advance to take a different day as his holiday.

Nor does HR apparently care that the customer prefers to get more work from IT contractors on holidays and weekends, which are slow business days -- so this HR decision means not only contractors but also this customer will be irritated by this HR decision.

"It didn't matter," fish grumbles. "HR said I still had to record four more hours to total 8 on the holiday.

"But after realizing that I would have to subtract four hours of holiday for the day after Thanksgiving -- the day I took as my replacement holiday -- and replace those four hours with leave, I refused."

Fish also tells his boss he will start refusing to work holiday weekends if he's not able to move his holiday to another day when he's actually working 40 hours for the customer -- and that, if he's asked, he'll tell the customer why.

Giving up on HR, fish's boss goes to his own manager to explain why this is a bad policy. But it seems fish's boss's boss doesn't want to get into a fight with HR this early in the transition.

So he tells fish's boss to have fish charge four hours of overhead on another day to make up for the lost leave.

"I agreed to do that as a solution to the immediate issue, hoping that management would get this resolved before it started creating issues for the customer," says fish.

"For my note correcting the time card, I wrote: 'Recording 4 hours of holiday under duress from HR' -- almost hoping that one day the government auditors see that comment."

Got HR troubles? Tell Sharky about it. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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