Why would employers want to fire employees whose dependents are having serious health problems? What do you think would be the reaction of employees with healthy dependents who suspect this might be happening?
Though it may come across as unfair, cold, and heartless, employers may want to fire employees whose dependents have serious health problems. Several reasons why employers may consider taking such measures are work availability, job performance, and cost-effectiveness.
Work Availability and Job Performance
If a dependent’s health problems cause an employee to miss work frequently, it can influence the companyâ€™s workflow and productivity. Work-flow design involves the individual and collective tasks necessary to produce a product or perform a service (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2021). If an individual is unavailable for work, it affects their individual work output, which in turn affects the output of other work units and the company as a whole.
Dealing with a sick family member can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.Â The demands can influence job performance. Being distracted or impaired by outside issues can impact an employeeâ€™s effectiveness and the quality of their work.Â Research has shown that impaired work ability is a risk factor for termination or dismissal (Martinez and Fischer, 2019). With stringent budgets and reductions in staffing, individual contributions have become more vital. Employees have to be present and perform their duties well in order for companies to function at an optimal capacity.
CostsÂ Another reason an employer may consider firing an employee with dependents with serious health problems is because of cost-effectiveness. Chronic conditions can be expensive in prescription costs and out-of-pocket expenses. They also have a tendency to drive overall healthcare premiums upward for employees and employers (Maxwell, 2017). Subsequently, any dependents covered on an employeeâ€™s insurance can also add to those costs. Some employers attempt to control costs by offering varied employee contributions based on the employeeâ€™s health and risk factors rather than charging each employee the same premium (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2021). This shows the extent to which employers try to reduce healthcare costs and keep them affordable.
There are a number of ways employees with healthy dependents can view the termination of a coworker under these circumstances.Â They may feel the termination was unfair.Â Employees may empathize with their coworker and their situation. They may have concerns for the welfare of the uninsured dependent. They may also consider would the company treat them the same if they needed to miss work because their dependent became sick.
Employees may feel the termination was inevitable. Due to the frequent absences of their coworker, they were forced to carry the weight of greater production. Though the reasoning for missing work is understandable, it causes disruption in the workflow, continuity, and cohesion of the unit. It can also affect the morale of other employees and lead to decreased productivity.
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