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Thread: pca/maternity leave/not rehiring question...

  1. #1
    Senior Member feisty's Avatar
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    pca/maternity leave/not rehiring question...

    hi.

    ok.

    I have/had a PCA that was hired through IHSS that was on staff for years that got pregnant and went on maternity leave. The relationship and her reliability had declined prior to her going on leave, but she was strapped for cash, so I let her stay on as long as she needed, even sometimes to my detriment because we had become (somewhat) friendly, knowing that when she was on leave it would be a good break for us and I would have time to find a competent replacement in her absence.

    So now, it's been days past her 6 weeks she told me she would need, I hadn't heard from her, other than when she was in the hospital (to tell me the baby was born) and I've never been notified of her return plans other than her origional plan of 6 weeks, and she's calling to ask now when/if she's coming back. Her replacement is a competent, reliable employee that doesn't come in 2 hours late every day like it's a favor to me.

    How do I navigate letting this person go? Legally, isn't she employed through IHSS, and not me per se? I'm not letting her go because she took leave, but honestly- it could just be said she didn't let me know after 6 weeks and I had to hire on the other person full time, right? Or is that just chickenshit?It's more of a performance thing than anything overall that cautions me against hiring me back, I just don't want to say the wrong thing because I know this stuff an be tricky. The firing I've had to do in the past was cut and dry, (drugs, theft, etc...)

    help plz.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member brucec's Avatar
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    sounds like you're chickenshit, yep. this sounds cut and dry also because of her poor performance, don't hesitate, stick to your guns
    We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
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  3. #3
    feisty, all you have to tell her is she is no longer needed...you are not her employer...my daughter has worked for IHSS for several years and when she loses a client because of death, they've been move to a nursing home, etc...she calls ihss and gets another client...with a new baby she just might be less responsible, or then again maybe more responsible because of the baby...who knows. but you do not have to have her back or even give an explaination...

  4. #4
    How have you kept her on the payroll if she is not working? Paid maternity leave is not a IHSS benefit (there are no benefits for IHSS workers in most counties in CA). If she is not showing up for work, then you don't report her as present on her time sheet.

    If you hired her (as opposed to your county assigning a working to you from an agency, as is done in some cases) even though IHSS pays her, you are her employer, and you can let her go at any time. If she is from an agency, they are responsible for her time, and would be responsible for letting her go (and accountable for her pay being correct and accurately billed to IHSS).

    (KLD)

  5. #5
    Senior Member feisty's Avatar
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    She's not on the payroll, I must have been unclear- I kept her on much longer than I normally would have (given her performance) while she was pregnant, and now I was just concerned it didn't look like I was solely letting her go bc she took leave after she had the baby.

    I just talked to IHSS and they said I don't even really owe her any kind of explanation at all, just that I rehired in her absence, California being an at-will state and all. I still feel bad because the shit's going to hit the fan, but oh well.
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  6. #6
    IHSS can be a bag of hurt. It is understandable to feel some pity for the PCA who used to work in your home.
    The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
    --General George Patton

    Complex problems need to be solved collectively.
    ––Paul Nussbaum
    usc87.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by feisty View Post

    I just talked to IHSS and they said I don't even really owe her any kind of explanation at all, just that I rehired in her absence, California being an at-will state and all. I still feel bad because the shit's going to hit the fan, but oh well.
    Not really on topic but I had no idea what "at-will" meant so I googled it.

    any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work.
    Wow. I admit I am a little gobsmacked that this is allowed. Companies like Walmart must just love it. Instead of giving somebody an owed raise, they can just fire them without cause. In terms of employing caregivers in a private home, I can't think this can be good for either party.

    Sorry for the highjack.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by feisty View Post
    so I let her stay on as long as she needed, even sometimes to my detriment because we had become (somewhat) friendly, knowing that when she was on leave it would be a good break for us and I would have time to find a competent replacement in her absence.
    Was this clearly articulated between you? Or was this JUST in your mind, ie. what you had in mind and planning to do, w/o making it clear to pca that she would bee "let go"?

    So now, it's been days past her 6 weeks she told me she would need, I hadn't heard from her, other than when she was in the hospital (to tell me the baby was born) and I've never been notified of her return plans other than her origional plan of 6 weeks, and she's calling to ask now when/if she's coming back. ...
    Was a specific RETURN DATE set between you? Or was there some unspoken agreement about ~ 6 weeks, at which time you both would be in contact? No specified date makes the 6 week timeframe a bit arbitrary, making the "days past" just as arbitrary and not 'just cause' for firing (tho I know this isn't the reason why).

    I assume IHSS is the state agency paying her. Even if this is the case, you would be the employer, as KLD noted. Although you are responsible for firing and may do so at any time, and for whatever reason, I'd think your PVA, as your employee, would have reason to take issue, especially if she felt the firing was unjustified or unreasonable (esp. given the pregnancy and you allowing her the time off).

    I think much of it depends on how much was clearly stated (or better, written out) between you about the leave, and what, if any, was the signed agreement at time of hiring.

    But, I think, from what you've described, nothing was clearly spelled out, with no any exact timeframe set nor anything agreed upon between you about continuing work or not, temporarily or permanently, after the leave. It seems maybe she assumed she'd return, while you hoped that IF you found someone else, she wouldn't have to?

    Assuming you didn't tell her you were unhappy with her performance and planning to let her go after the 'leave', I think this was your responsibility and obligation to her and yourself, to have told her, which would have made the firing, at the time of the leave, reasonable - saying, you haven't been happy with her (maybe discussed x # of times, with warning given), but you'll let her stay until her 'leave' (so you're doing HER a favor); and given that you need pca care, you'd have to let her go permanently and hire someone new. Even if you didn't include anything being unhappy/dissatisfied with her performance as reason for firing, I'd think that the extended 6 week time off is enough to warrant telling her you have to let her go and hire a new person, which is critical for YOUR health and care needs.

    Anyway, assuming again that nothing was clearly stated between you, I think you just hoped she wouldn't call back, since she hadn't called and asked about returning? If you were expecting her to return, would you not have followed up with her yourself, to make sure she would be returning on date X? Even if you were hoping she would not call, I guess it would have been safer for you to call ON the date of the 6th week (or 1 or 2 days after), and ask why wasn't she there or why did she miss 'x' number of days, even after getting 6 weeks off. I'm just saying that these are a few things that could have set the stage for termination, if was the case.

    But what to do now, that you hired a new person without firing her? I dunno. If any of the situation I described above applies in your case, then maybe you can come up with some explanation for her termination. If you were just hoping she wouldn't come back, then I think it's your responsibility and you're at fault for not making it clear. So, how to deal? I think what you need to just do at this time, since it's too late to go back and change anything, is to just tell her directly how you were not satisfied with her (because of xyz) and that you need(ed) someone else, and given that she has not been in touch since -x- that you didn't expect her back and have found someone else.

    Oh, I just read the bit about the "at-will", so I guess you have right to fire at any time for whatever reason, or no reason. This might make it easier for you to just her her/it go, but I think it unfairly puts her in a tough spot, if she wasn't notified beforehand. Is she part of any union, she may go to? Well, in any case, seems you had every reason to fire her.... tho you didn't take advantage of opportunity to do so and just handled it poorly. Hopefully, she isn't some crazy person! I know someone who had to deal with a crazy one who even served him papers attempting to sue him (in CA).

  9. #9
    What have you been telling her when she's been calling you asking when she can come back?

    I say just be straight up & not lead her on as she does have a baby to support now.
    Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

  10. #10
    Legally, it sounds pretty cut and paste. But you know what you gotta do, and that is hurt some feelings and feel like an A-hole. You know I went through the same thing, keeping a caregiver a year more than I should have.

    But the bottom line is you shouldn't be working your life around your employee's schedule. It's so nice to be ready on time! You can do things! You can make plans before noon! It's liberating!

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