Emotional support and workload

Mark is a full time indeterminate employee in the section where his substantive position is located for the last 8 years.  He is married to Claudette, who suffers from progressive cancer and has been under life-prolonging treatment regimens on and off for the past three years.  Mark has been very grateful for the flexibility shown by his employer, which enabled him to take various forms of leave to assist Claudette in handling her condition and the treatments.  Mark has now an increasingly negative balance in terms of the relevant forms of available paid leave, however, while he very much wants to keep working, both for the support of coworkers and for the income (Claudette is no longer able to work and they depend on Mark’s salary).

Mark comes to work regularly and is obviously under serious stress that goes up and down.  He spends considerable time talking one on one about it with different coworkers, which is a big consolation for him. One of the employees in the section, Mike, has come to the manager to express concerns in confidence that there is a serious obstacle to productivity in the section because of all the personal support that is going on, resulting in one or two employees (including Mike) feeling like they are carrying a disproportionate share of the workload and something has to change.

What would you do as the manager?

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