A reader writes:
Please tell me about options an employee has to get compensated appropriately when (temporarily) taking on the responsibilities of a coworker’s job while they are out on disability. In the past, when I took over the responsibilities of a manager at my workplace for four months, I was given a one-time bonus check which was in no way an adequate compensation for the extra work I did during that time. (Needless to say, I was expected to keep up with my regular assignments as well.)
Now I am faced with the same issue. I do not want a bonus check this time. I’ve heard of a “temporary job upgrade.” Please tell me about that.
Well, you can always ask for more money ... but I think it's tricky to do in situations like this. Your boss might legitimately feel that pitching in to take on extra responsibilities when circumstances require it is part of what she expects from the person in your role and that your current compensation covers you doing that on occasion.
If you do choose to ask for more money, I think a much better way of looking at this is as part of your performance overall -- not as a tit for tat tied to this particular situation, since otherwise you risk it coming across as petty or not a team player, etc. Ideally, I'd much rather see you incorporate this into your next discussion of an annual raise, if even that's a ways off: At whatever point you're due for your next raise, you can use this to point out that part of your value as an employee is that you're able and willing to step into other people's shoes when needed.