What to do when an employee is chronically absent for silly reasons?

What is an appropriate policy for a 20 member company where an employee’s absence means that someone else has to cover their work?

Dear Jane: 

We interviewed for a position back in August. During the interview, the candidate told us that he would need time off in November to arrange the details of the wedding, as well as time off in December for the wedding. We said it wouldn’t be a problem since he is only taking two weeks off. When December came, the employee took two weeks off for the wedding. I said it wouldn’t be a problem, and his coworkers are ok with covering the shifts. Come January, the employee requested for two more weeks off to go on his honeymoon. We denied it and said he could only take one week off. The employee went on the honeymoon and called on the seventh day to inform us that he would need five more days off since a very close family member has passed away. Given the precarious situation, we decided to approve of the family emergency leaves he was taking. Last week, he asked for two more days off to attend the Christening of a family member’s daughter. We are very upset with the absenteeism. When this employee does not show up for work it means that someone else needs to carry the workload. It’s a very small staff, and this means spending an extraordinary amount of time rearranging our schedules and starting our day earlier.

What is an appropriate policy for a 20 member company where an employee’s absence means that someone else has to cover their work? Are we being too lenient?

- A concerned manager.

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