Asking off at a temp job
September 12, 2017 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Currently (and for the last 2 months) I am/ have been working a temp job with a definite end in about 4 weeks.

When I got hired, I told them I would need Thursday, September 14th off for a wedding and they said it would be no problem. Great! But I just received a call from my doctor wanting to schedule a procedure for the afternoon of Friday. September 15th, meaning I would need to take about 4 hours off on Friday, as well. Basically, I am scared to ask off. Friday is the only availability that my doctor has and it is a procedure that needs to get done.
I have a job (career!) lined up for when this job ends, but I need to work for the next four weeks. How would you navigate this situation? Should I just take the time off and hope for the best? How do I let my temp employer know? I am probably overthinking this but I have a hard time asking for time off in general, much less at a temp job.
FWIW- it's isn't a very uptight company, but I am the front desk person.
posted by aholeinthehead to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Heya, I am not sure how your temp agency works, but mine has been incredibly nice in this regard. They basically told me up-front "anytime you need a day off call us and we will deal with it, do not speak to them about it." They can most likely refer somebody else over to work that day.
posted by gucci mane at 1:38 PM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Hi {boss},

I have a medical appointment and need to take a 1/2 day on {date}.


If it fits with your work culture, you could offer to work an extra hour the other 3 days to compensate.

(Reading gucci mane's comment - this message may need to go to your temp agency coordinator instead. Either way, I think it's fine to just be straightforward about it.)
posted by too bad you're not me at 1:40 PM on September 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

Seconding (thirding) that this is what your temp agency is getting paid to deal with, if you are there through an agency. You don't need to disclose that it is medical, just let the agency know that something has come up that you will need to attend on Friday between xx:00 and xx:00. If you are able to return to the office, great. If not, that's also fine. If you are comfortable having your doctor fax a note to the temp agency, that will give some weight to your request.

It's possible that the assignment may decide to terminate your contract. But they could decide that because you decided to wear a blue shirt on a Tuesday, so don't take it personally, assuming that you are in the US.
posted by bilabial at 1:47 PM on September 12, 2017

When I last temped there was a big big deal made of the fact that my employer was the temp company, not the company to which I was assigned -- so yes, it should be fine to tell your boss that you have a medical appointment on a certain day and will not be in, but your boss is the temp company, not anybody at the place you're working.

If you have a good relationship with the people you see every day and you're working on ongoing projects, it's maybe a good idea to notify them first, but the temp agency will not necessarily like that, so don't tell them you did. and the temp agency will notify the company anyway. it's very hard to predict who will or won't care about the procedural details but acting like you work directly for the place they sent you can get you in trouble with some temp agencies, even when all you're trying to do is be courteous.

but taking the day should not get you fired or in any trouble, because if a new temp can do your work, they'll just have the agency send a fill-in person for the day you're gone, no inconvenience to anybody. and if a new temp can't do it without training, they'll need you back.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:01 PM on September 12, 2017

This is the social contract as it applies to temp contracts. Low pay, no perks, no advancement, no career-advancing training. But you don't have to navigate office politics, attend 'social events' on your own time, or forego a doctor appointment (or an afternoon at the movies) that you decide you need. Employers and agencies understand this.
posted by LonnieK at 8:08 PM on September 12, 2017

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