An employee is on leave, but you have a question. Is it okay to call them?
Business stops for no one, even when an employee is out on leave, regardless of requested paid time off, FMLA, or otherwise. Why should you be inconvenienced? In this day and age of everyone being connected, it’s easy to pick up the phone, shoot off an email, or send a text. The main question is, should you?
Before making the call consider the following:
Can anyone else provide the information? If not, consider this a red flag for many reasons. No one individual should have total knowledge on a given procedure that could be detrimental to a company. Information should be freely shared with a backup for planned absences. Most employees, especially those in a management position, should have updated information and status updates located in their paper or computer files a supervisor should be to locate.
If you have to wait until their return, would your business truly suffer? Everything is not as critical as we may believe in a given moment. Instead of grabbing the phone, walk away for a few minutes, take a walk, enjoy your lunch, look at something else. Once you’ve given yourself a little time, if you still feel the issue could cause harm to your business, by all means call them.
Is the employee likely to forgive the intrusion? Some employees are very open and may prefer to be called to prevent urgent situations upon their return, others are not. Interruptions can cause bitterness.
Are others also contacting the employee? The rare need to call is probably not a big deal, but if the calls happen frequently and/or multiple people are calling the employee you are not allowing the employee to maintain the separation from work to which they are entitled.
Keep in mind if you are calling an employee on leave they should be compensated for time worked. Even if the contact is very brief be sure to thank the employee in some way upon their return.