"Ask no questions I tell no lies"
I do not ask employees why they need a day off because what they do in their off-time is purely personal. The reason they need the day off is irrelevant. You can say no to the employee but there will be repercussions.
Most employees will offer the reason, but some do not. For those who do not I bite my tongue.
More reasons I do not ask the reason for taking off:
I only want employees to work when they want to work or they will sabotage the job when I force them to come to work.
Everyone loves to take a day or more off when they feel like it. I even allow my children to take a day off from school, a few days a year, without giving me a reason. There are times I leave my shop, go around the block, and take the day off. I think employees should have the same privelege. Of course, we hope the employee does not exercise this privelege too often.
Always have a backup plan and always have someone ready to take an employee's place. People quit, die, start their owne business, and they have accidents. Constantly screen new employees and be prepared. Have more employees than you need.
If an employee takes too many days off the reason does not matter. Hire a new employee and terminate the old one. I have had excellent results hiring employees from Craigs List.
Getting employees to show up is not about bossing employees. If you want maximum production you want employees to do and enjoy what they want. If they need a day off don't ask the reason.
When employees take too many days off give them a warning. Then, terminate employees when they don't meet your expectations.
Never threaten an employee with termination to motivate him. Tell employeeswhat you want and terminate them when they don't meet your expectations.
Almost every one of my employees has been with me from 12 to 30 years. I give them a lot of lattitude.