Monday, February 19, 2007

Corporate Math

I have gone round and round with our corporate office's HR department concerning basic math skills. Prior to last year, each branch was responsible for figuring vacation and sick days for employees and maintaining those records. Well, last year Corporate decided to stick their noses in it. They ran reports and caused all kinds of busy work for me, justifying the amount of time that was taken by certain employees.

To figure a new employee's vacation time, you must multiply the amount of paydays left in the year by a certain number. So, when this multiplication takes place, you will get some strange number like 4.93 days. Well.. we require that all vacation days be taken, at minimum, in half-day increments. So.. I would round up and say this employee has 5 days. But not Corporate. No. They would actually send me messages that said that the employee had 4.93 days, or 39.44 hours, of vacation available. I would respond and ask them how the employee was supposed to take .93 of a day? Or 7.44 hours off? Did we really expect them to drive into work and work for 30 minutes (not enough time to even do anything!) and log their time like that?? Or if you want to get technical about it (and apparently they do!) work for 33.6 min? And the response was actually... yes. They were only allowed to have 4.93 days.

I swear it drives me crazy.

Well I fought it.. using my knowledge of basic math skills, I gave them my reasoning. Like talking to a brick wall. They actually think we should round DOWN. I should not follow those basic math skills I learned in grade school (and throughout JR High and High School) and round UP when the number is > half way. Even the IRS allows you to round up to the next dollar when filing your taxes if the cents are .50 or greater! But "Corporate Math" says you always round down... so, in this case, they would determine that the employee gets 4.5 days.

It is just one of those things that really irritates me. So, I just send it to them, let them do the calculations and then give them to me so that I can be blissfully unaware. I don't have to calculate anything, so I don't have to know how much Corporate is shaving off of the time they are supposed to give to the employee. Ignorance is bliss, right? What I don't know, I don't have to get worked up about.

So, we had two new employees start this month. I sent a request to our HR contact for the vacation/sick info for them for the rest of this year. A week later, after I did not get a response, so I sent a second request for the information. The response I received was just as irritating to me as their math skills. She actually sent me an email that said she was filling in for someone else who was on vacation, so I would either need to wait until she returned to her job the next week or I could figure it myself using the "attached formula." Yes, she actually attached the formula to her email. So, apparently while filling in for someone else, she has lost her ability to use a calculator. So, I went ahead and figured the vacation days. 8.85 days. And using "Corporate math" I rounded down to 8.5 days, even though it should be 9 days...

Then we got to the sick time. There is no nice easy formula for sick time. We get one sick day per 73 calendar days in the year. So, I had to figure out how many days had gone by in the year, subtract that from 365, then divide by 73. It wasn't too bad, since this is only February I only had to add the amount of days in February to the 31 in January. So, I got 4.42 days.. again, using "Corporate Math" I have to round down to 4 days instead of giving him .08 days and allowing 4.5 days.


I send off the information to the new guy's supervisor and then look at my calendar again. In the top right corner of each day is a number.. 042/323 on Feb. 11th.... so the 42nd day of the year, and 323 to go.. Dang it! I could have just used that rather than count how many days had passed and subtracted that number from 365! Oh, well... I'm sure by the next time Ms. HR person wants me to calculate the days because she can't use a calculator when she is not at her desk, I will have forgotten that those numbers exist on my calendar and I will still calculate it using the same method as today. :)

I know.. there are so many other injustices in the world and this is a very, very small issue. I really shouldn't care that these new employees are getting cheated out of less than half of a vacation day. Especially when so many companies do not even give vacation days in the first year of employment. They should feel lucky to get what they are getting, right? I do agree.. but it is just the "principle" of the matter that irritates me.

I know, I'm strange. :) Just wanted to vent...

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