Leave requests that stretched credulity : The Tribune India

Leave requests that stretched credulity

Leave requests that stretched credulity

Photo for representational purpose only. - iStock file photo

NJ Ravi Chander

DURING my nearly four-decade-long tenure with a state-run bank, I witnessed my colleagues giving a wide range of contrived reasons for taking leave. Some of these were close to being ridiculous or implausible.

There was a security guard who would periodically disappear from duty and then reappear after a few days. He remained incorrigible even after many admonishments. He took to drinking and gambling, but kept blaming his wife’s illness for his absence. His alcohol consumption and extravagant spending caused the family’s debts to mount. Ultimately, we sent him to a counselling centre. He returned a changed man, but reverted to his vices shortly thereafter. He resumed fibbing too.

Another employee was fond of betting on horse races. On the day of the races, he would fall ‘ill’. He was often ‘unwell’ during the racing season. It was also customary for the office cinephiles to take leave whenever a new movie was screened in the town. Employees in rural areas often applied for leave on frivolous grounds to drive to the city to watch a film.

The leave applications regularly mentioned ‘going away from town’; when spotted ‘in town’, the embarrassed employees expressed regret and quickly returned to work. Likewise, staffers reported ‘sick’ despite seeming to be in good health.

To take a break from work, many employees resorted to hoodwinking the bank by producing medical certificates at a small cost from a clinic. The accountant of a city branch cited a ‘broken leg’ to sidestep the audit team that showed up at the office. He had taken foolproof measures, getting a doctor to put a cast on the perfectly fine leg for a fee. When he arrived after the audit, there was no visible evidence of damage to his limb.

One clerk tended to rouse me in the early hours, informing me that an uncle had kicked the bucket and that I should permit him to be absent from work. He would mention the same reason when seeking leave again, making me doubt its veracity. So, when I quizzed him one day, he was at sixes and sevens. I guess the frequent references to the uncle’s death must have made the dead man turn in his grave time and again.

Unwed newbies would take leave intermittently to go on romantic escapades. Upon returning to work, they would give a ‘spiritual’ justification for their absence by claiming that they had visited a temple somewhere. Staffers keen on spending time with their family hesitated to disclose the truth in their leave applications for fear of refusal by the boss. Instead, they simply wrote, ‘urgent work’.

At times, legitimate health-related conditions, including upset stomach, headache, hypertension, diabetes and chest pain, made employees take leave. Hats off to those rare ones who did their duty even when they had a valid reason not to attend office.

Tribune Shorts

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