Shouldn’t I get allowance for doing a colleague’s job?

Friday November 1 2019

Jane Muiruri

Jane Muiruri 

By Jane Muiruri

My company deals in floor tiles. Whenever one of us takes a break, the company brings in someone from another department. But a few weeks ago, my colleague went on leave, but nobody was sent to hold fort. I have been working alone in the showroom for a month, should I ask for an allowance? Pauline

Dear Pauline,
The reality is that the economy is struggling. To remain profitable, most organisations are looking for innovative ways of cutting costs, and some expenses are bound to be struck off the budget.

For your case, I believe that the tile sales have dwindled over the last few years, so the management has opted to take certain measures to ensure the business remains afloat.
You must be aware that several organisations in the country [Kenya] have retrenched some of their employees. Therefore, you should be grateful that you have a payslip at the end of the month.

Things can get worse. You are also lucky that in your organisation, employees can be away on leave for as long as a month.
Not all organisations allow their employees to be away for such lengthy periods. And it is common for managers to share out the responsibilities of a colleague who has proceeded on leave among the other colleagues, instead of hiring a temporary replacement. Yours is not a unique case.

I’d advise you to approach your supervisor and find out if you can get some assistance now that you are handling two roles. If that is not possible, I’m afraid you will have to adapt and make do with the situation at hand. In case you are required to work on your day off, you can claim for overtime. This is a legal entitlement.

Be careful not to be viewed as one who always likes to complain even difficult but temporary situations. Take this as an opportunity to showcase your customer service skills in a challenging environment. This experience might be more beneficial to you in the future rather than the few extra coins you will earn in form of an allowance.


Jane Muiruri
Senior HR Manager,
Nation Media Group