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Veronika
02-16-2011, 09:48 PM
Therefore, by extension, the real problem is the employer not growing a pair and setting down rules for sick time usage. If I or one of my co-workers has to use Sick Time, we have to prove why it is necessary to use it, by providing medical documentation to our supervisors and to HR, and we have to use up our Personal Time first before reverting to using Sick Time hours.

There are rules, and things vary from company to company. But expecting people to provide a medical document every time they are sick--do you go to the doctor every time you vomit? I don't. I only go to the doctor if I get sick and it doesn't go away in 1-2 week's time.

People abuse sick time everywhere, probably even at your company. Someone could have a crooked doctor who writes notes for anyone who comes in, sick or not. :sekret:

Aussie Willy
02-16-2011, 09:58 PM
I'm a supervisor on my better days, and I have to say that the problem with sick leave is that people abuse it. Either they aren't that sick, or not sick at all--and they ruin it for everyone else who is honest.

I once had an employee tell me that she "thought" she had a headache and had to go home. I'm not kidding.

For myself--I only call in sick if I have a fever. If I have a cold, I can usually just tough it out. I usually only take 1 sick day a year, if that.
I think it also depends on the workplace. I have found that generally those who are happier in their work take less sick leave. Those who aren't take more.

euterpe
02-16-2011, 09:59 PM
When I worked for a very large company years ago, there was a strict policy about missed work time, specifically aimed at non-management employees.

If an employee was sick or otherwise missed work within the first 6 months of employment, that employee was subject to dismissal. After 6 months, dismissal was still a threat, if the illness meant repeated absences.

I can remember a female employee who was frequently ill. She made it through the first six months, but then kept getting sicker and sicker. She was threatened with dismissal, but she couldn't return to work. She was subjected to daily calls not only from her supervisor, but also from Personnel. Eventually she died---from cystic fibrosis. That was particularly embarrassing to the Medical department at the company, which routinely gave physical exams to all new employees, who declared this girl fit.

Another woman (who'd been with the company more than a year) was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to have surgery followed by radiation treatments which caused her to miss work on a regular basis. Again, her supervisor, manager and Personnel subjected her to harassment calls and threats.

Karina1974
02-16-2011, 10:00 PM
There are rules, and things vary from company to company. But expecting people to provide a medical document every time they are sick--do you go to the doctor every time you vomit? I don't. I only go to the doctor if I get sick and it doesn't go away in 1-2 week's time.


OK, to use your example... if I was throwing up, I would call in for the day. Whether I use Personal or Vacation time is up to me, but I do get paid for the day, even though I am home. If I end up being out at least 3 days, I am expected to go to the MD and get checked out. BUT... I can only use Sick Time if the MD tells me I need to be home. If I decide to stay home of my own accord after that MD visit, I cannot use my Sick Time, I must use Personal or Vacation.

It's not rocket science, and it does work.

Anita18
02-16-2011, 10:00 PM
There are rules, and things vary from company to company. But expecting people to provide a medical document every time they are sick--do you go to the doctor every time you vomit? I don't. I only go to the doctor if I get sick and it doesn't go away in 1-2 week's time.
Especially with what Gazpacho noted about medical settings and the shaming of those who dare call in sick. :rofl: No way, I ain't going to a doctor unless it's something I can't fix myself!

I think workplace culture dictates what actually goes despite what an official policy is. You hire good people who enjoy doing good work and trust each other, I don't think you have to worry about sick leave abuse. Or a bunch of other things. :lol:

Veronika
02-16-2011, 10:09 PM
OK, to use your example... if I was throwing up, I would call in for the day. Whether I use Personal or Vacation time is up to me, but I do get paid for the day, even though I am home. If I end up being out at least 3 days, I am expected to go to the MD and get checked out. BUT... I can only use Sick Time if the MD tells me I need to be home. If I decide to stay home of my own accord after that MD visit, I cannot use my Sick Time, I must use Personal or Vacation.

Okay, if we are using your rules, I would never get to use my sick time. I've been at the same employer for almost 11 years, and I think I've only had one illness that would be considered highly contagious (the flu.)

genevieve
02-16-2011, 10:22 PM
Karina1974 has explained the way that her company views Sick Time - it's really not "sick" time, it's "major illness" time. Given the very generous amount of vacation/personal time she also accrues and the very generous carryover policy, I'd say that people in her company have no problem getting time off for their illnesses, and it seems far less punitive than most companies who make employees use a general PTO pool for what most employers would consider sick time - they just use a different pool of paid time.

That said, I find her employer's definition of sick time unusual and wonder how widespread that way of categorization is.

Kaffeine
02-16-2011, 11:34 PM
Another woman (who'd been with the company more than a year) was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to have surgery followed by radiation treatments which caused her to miss work on a regular basis. Again, her supervisor, manager and Personnel subjected her to harassment calls and threats.

What about FMLA? (Family Medical Leave Act) Where I work, (county library system), someone can apply to go onto FMLA for either a chronic illness that they're suffering from or if they're taking care of a direct family member (mom/dad). That way, their job is protected. Staff can take up to 12 weeks of FMLA per calendar year.

PrincessLeppard
02-17-2011, 01:28 AM
Isn't FMLA unpaid, though? That's not too great if you don't have a lot of savings.

I think it's so true about happy employees not using sick time. The worse abuser at my school hated teaching, hated kids, hated pretty much everything. She called in over 40 times in one school year, used up all her sick leave and started dipping into the sick leave bank. She was fired at the end of the year.

A colleague I greatly respect is unhappy about a lot of things going on at the school, and has started getting "sick" more often. It's starting to piss me off. I need to get sick. :P

vesperholly
02-17-2011, 02:23 AM
There are rules, and things vary from company to company. But expecting people to provide a medical document every time they are sick--do you go to the doctor every time you vomit? I don't. I only go to the doctor if I get sick and it doesn't go away in 1-2 week's time.

I would go to the doctor more often when I get sick if my copay wasn't $40. I'm far from a hypochondriac, and I think the high cost is unfair. Why can't they scale copays - $10 the first visit, $20 the second, and so on?

altai_rose
02-17-2011, 05:09 AM
But an employment situation is very different from an academic, lab situation. Whether you get sick leave or vacation or whatever is completely dependent on the lab professor you work for. Luckily for Anita, her PI is very lenient.

Personally, for Anita's case, I think the reason why that person did not take stay at home was simply stress and work pressure. Cells don't stop dividing and mice don't stop breeding just because you're sick. And when you're not working and staying home, people both 2 floors up from you and halfway around the globe are busy thinking and working on the same ideas and experiments you are doing. If you don't work, you won't publish. And if you don't publish, you won't graduate.

antmanb
02-17-2011, 02:12 PM
When I worked for a very large company years ago, there was a strict policy about missed work time, specifically aimed at non-management employees.

If an employee was sick or otherwise missed work within the first 6 months of employment, that employee was subject to dismissal. After 6 months, dismissal was still a threat, if the illness meant repeated absences.

I can remember a female employee who was frequently ill. She made it through the first six months, but then kept getting sicker and sicker. She was threatened with dismissal, but she couldn't return to work. She was subjected to daily calls not only from her supervisor, but also from Personnel. Eventually she died---from cystic fibrosis. That was particularly embarrassing to the Medical department at the company, which routinely gave physical exams to all new employees, who declared this girl fit.

Another woman (who'd been with the company more than a year) was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had to have surgery followed by radiation treatments which caused her to miss work on a regular basis. Again, her supervisor, manager and Personnel subjected her to harassment calls and threats.


This would be completely illegal in the UK and the company would find itself on the end of an enormous law suit.

Ant

Karina1974
02-17-2011, 03:01 PM
Okay, if we are using your rules, I would never get to use my sick time. I've been at the same employer for almost 11 years, and I think I've only had one illness that would be considered highly contagious (the flu.)

Quite possibly. If you worked for my employer, you would have to use up all Personal Time (and we never have more than 40 hours-worth) before starting to use your Sick Leave, and it is HR's discretion whether or not the flu would be considered serious enough to allow the use of Sick Leave or if you would have to dip into your accrued Vacation Time. For the flu, most likely you would be allowed, but they would require a doctor's note.


Karina1974 has explained the way that her company views Sick Time - it's really not "sick" time, it's "major illness" time.

Exactly. Also, we don't have a PTO pool like some places; each employee accrues their own time, and we don't "trade off" with other employees. IOW, that 485 hours I have accrued is mine. We don't need a pool, though, because I have co-workers who have 250-300 hours of Vacation Time accrued, that's why they have capped us at 200.

OK - here's my employer's official policy on long Term Sick Leave. I'm copying this straight from the employee handbook, dated July 1997. I've bolded the parts most pertinent to the discussion.

It is the company policy that Personal leave should be used for doctor's appointments, minor illnesses, etc.

Long term sick leave is designated to try to assist the employee who suffers a major long term illness such as a heart attack, major surgery, major family illness, etc.

Employees who are absent because of sickness must charge this absence to their Personal leave first. When Personal leave has been exhausted, the employee may charge absence for sickness against accumulated Long Term Sick Leave. The company may at its discretion request a doctor's certificate as proof of sickness before allowing charges against accumulated Long Term Sick Leave.

Long Term Sick Leave may only be used in increments of 1 full day, except in cases where a doctor has prescribed routine treatments and a letter from the doctor has been provided to the personnel department.

Each employee is granted 1 week of Long Term Sick Leave for each year (s)he has been employed by the company. Long Term Sick Leave will be credited to an employee on his/her first anniversary date and each anniversary date thereafter except it shall not accumulate beyond a maximum of 12 weeks.

Upon termination or resignation employees will not be compensated for unsued sick leave credits.

numbers123
02-17-2011, 04:58 PM
I suspect that your employer does not want the handbook quoted word for word on an internet forum. I realize that it seems a bit anonymous, but still.

I know my previous employer did not want the PTO calculations "out there". Not that people couldn't find what it was because of course bennies are known within the area, but not so much on a national or international basis. And PTO/sick leave/vacation/whatever calculations vary around regions.

Twilight1
02-17-2011, 05:13 PM
I can't wrap my head around harassing someone on chemo treatment. ITA with antmanb that would lead to a lawsuit (or should be)

My dad is knocked on his butt when he gets his chemo. He can't eat, he can't sleep, he is nauseous etc etc. He can barely get out of bed some days.