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Company van isn't to be used for family trip

Careers | Q&A

Company van is for company employees

QI have been asked to travel with "Myra," one of my co-workers, to attend a three-day conference. The trip is about five hours each way. We will be taking a company van, which I will be driving.

Last week, Myra said, "I hope you don't mind, but I'm planning to bring my 1-year-old son along on the trip." In fact, I do mind a great deal. This is a long drive, so the child will undoubtedly get restless. Also, he is teething, which means that he is likely to start screaming.

When I mentioned these issues, Myra said that her mother will also be coming to help care for the baby. So now I am expected to take a business trip with two members of her family.

I don't want to offend Myra, because we have always had a good working relationship. But she never consulted me about these plans. Our boss has said we should just "work it out," but I'm not sure how to do that. If Myra would offer to drive her own car, the problem would be solved.

AForcing you to endure a 10-hour road trip with a teething infant does not seem at all businesslike. By telling you to solve the problem yourself, your boss is taking the coward's way out. This is a company trip in a company van, so someone in management needs to make the call.

Apart from your personal objections, the presence of these family members could also create liability issues for both you and the company. Ask your corporate attorney or insurance specialist about potential legal risks, then talk with your boss again.

For example: "I know you want me to handle the travel arrangements myself, but I have no authority to tell Myra that her family members can't ride in the company van. However, I am very concerned about driving them. Having an infant along will make the trip difficult, and I will also be responsible for their safety. I would really appreciate your asking Myra to make other arrangements."

Taking two cars would be a simple solution, so I assume the sticking point is reimbursement. If your manager refuses to intervene, you might purchase some peace of mind by offering to split Myra's gas bill.

Marie G. McIntyre, McClatchy-Tribune Newspapers

Extra work doesn't warrant extra pay

QI asked for a raise this morning based on my increased workload over the past two months. I have been given essentially two jobs, but I am still being paid for only one. I was told that I will get the same raise as everyone else in January.

Should I drop the issue now? Try again in a month? Continue to document the increased hours and increased requests for information and work that stem from my new responsibilities and try again later?

AYou have been doing additional work for only two months. I am not surprised that your employer would not award you a more sizable raise under the circumstances. Drop the issue for now. If your workload remains unchanged six months from now, then you should feel free to revisit the question. Remember that a raise compensates you not only for past performance but also for what your job is expected to be in the future. If your employer does not anticipate keeping you as occupied as you are now, then it might not make sense to award you a permanent bump in pay. It might be more appropriate to compensate you with a bonus or additional time off.

Lily Garcia,special to the Washington Post

Company van isn't to be used for family trip 10/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 2, 2010 5:31am]

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