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Why can't sick people stay home?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Anita18, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I'm a little :mad: and rather :confused: because one of my coworkers elected to come to work today with a raging uncontrollable phlegmy cough. Which would have been relatively okay if it was just a simple cold, but she thinks she got the illness from one of the other grad students was diagnosed with FULL-BLOWN PNEUMONIA two weeks ago and still came to work until she physically was not able to. (We work on the campus of a cancer hospital, and one of the gardeners thought she was one of the patients, she looked THAT ill.)

    I only dodged the bullet from the first grad student because my sleep schedule was a$$-backwards and I was coming into work late at night when nobody else was around. :p Today we had a lab meeting where all of us would be together in a single room and I had to literally beg my coworker not to come to that. She sent an email to our boss and he flat out told her not to come. :lol:

    Luckily we have a boss who's understanding of this - if you're sick, he doesn't want you in because not only might you infect other people, you might infect the cells we work with. He also believes that if you're not mentally 100%, your work will be poorer and you'll only have to waste more time, energy, and resources doing it again. I think it's the right way to think about it, but it also makes my coworkers' choice to come to work even more befuddling.

    I know that she's desperate to finish her thesis, but the rest of us have projects we can't afford to lose time on either! Not to mention spreading a nasty respiratory infection just is not cool even if you're just around strangers.

    I just don't get it, especially because both coworkers are kind, generous, delightful people to be around, but their attitude of thinking they aren't going to get other people sick is just bewildering. Luckily I talked some sense into the first student, and she got to see her naivete for herself when she got many people around her sick, including a relative who came to visit. :p

    Is it just the American workworkwork mentality that does this or is this pervasive around the world? I know that pushing through illness (or general disability) is admired in our society, but being sick to the point of misery is IMO not admirable. Especially if what you have is a contagious respiratory bug!
  2. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Not is not just in the US either. However I can see both sides of the story.

    If you don't have sick leave entitlements, which here many casual workers don't have, then sometimes you just cannot afford to take time off work. I have been in that position and it is horrible and it is not a choice. You end up really really stressed because it is not just being sick but also because the financial pressure.

    On the other hand, if you do have sick leave, use it. My work says if you are sick don't come in. And with the Swine Flu virus they issued a directive about it.

    There are also some bosses who make you feel guilty if you do take time off. So you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    A lot of it depends on the workplace culture.

    My mum thinks people who go into work when sick are really selfish and are not thinking of others.

    However when you get a cold or flu, aren't you most infectious before you get the symptoms? By the time you get them you are no longer contagious. I am sure there are some medical types here who will know the answer.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  3. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

    People come in sick where I work all the time. My boss is an asshat and claims he never gets sick, and anyone who does is just weak and lazy. If you do call in sick, and even if you take it as an unpaid sick day, he expects you to come in on your day off as a make up shift.
  4. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

    I work for the hospital and we aren't allowed to come into work if we are sick as per hospital directives... but then we get in shyte from the manager about calling in sick. I had Employee Health fighting on my behalf because I was sick with the flu.

    For the part time staff, I don't understand the grumblings from management. They do not have to pay for the replacement but do for us full time staff. At least from a financial standpoint, I understand.

    When I am sick, I stay home.
  5. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple

    I hate making sub plans, and there are very few subs who can actually teach. If I can get off the couch, I'm going to teach.

    Thankfully, I'm rarely that sick. I think the kids have infected me with everything, and now I'm immune. :p
  6. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    It also depends on what kind of work you do; I'm a bookkeeper and sometimes there is a deadline, like payroll, where I have to come in no matter what. At some jobs I had if I didn't come in people wouldn't get paid, or checks wouldn't go out to suppliers on time. I've worked mostly in small offices where I was it, so if I wasn't there, things ground to a halt.
  7. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    I totally agree with you. If you are sick, stay home! I know I do and it isn't because I am lazy. It is because A) I am SICK and B) I don't want to make others sick. It is the right thing to do. However, I have worked at places where you were not to call in sick unless you were calling from the hospital. It never made sense and they never could understand why the entire office would get sick at the same time. What idiots.

    I have also had a job like emason where I was heavily relied upon. One of my last jobs was just myself and my boss. So most of the time I couldn't call in. However, being that it was only the two of us, it wasn't like I was going to pass around my illness to many people. My boss just stayed in his office and I in mine and no one had to worry. I wasn't thrilled to be at work but I wasn't bed ridden so I might as well feel like crap while getting paid...
  8. Satellitegirl

    Satellitegirl New Member

    I got annoyed at my coworker the other day, who came in to work with strep, when it hadn't been 24 hours since she had started her antibiotics yet. Thankfully I didn't catch it...but a couple other people did. She had sick days she could take, so it's inconsiderate.
  9. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    Pretty much the only time I get sick is when there is some deadline that can't be moved (payroll, payroll taxes, audit schedules, other filings that can't move). by the time the deadline has passed, I'm starting to feel better :wall:
  10. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    My boss sends people home. Our staff of 100 can get sick really fast if one infectious member infiltrates our cubicles. But fortunately 1/3 of us can work from home if need be.

    On another note....a new rule for schools where I live; it's up to the nurse to send a kid home if a kid gets sent to school when they shouldn't have. Hundreds have been sent home this school year but thousands more didn't miss school because they got sick. My kids have perfect attendance, first time ever!
  11. dbell1

    dbell1 Well-Known Member

    I had a boss once who told me when I called out with Bronchitis to come in after 6 pm (when he left) to make up the time. I had leave, he just didn't want me out. :wall: He was, however, the person who sent home a coworker who brought in a 'vomit bucket'. :wideeyes: NO ONE is that freaking irreplaceable (especially at an accounting firm). :rolleyes:

    At my current job, my boss has been on medical leave 15 out of 24 months. Her first replacement once told me when I was quite ill that "you're not really that bad" and then "do you want me to call you an ambulance or can you make it home?" (and it was quite sarcastic). Later that day, I was diagnosed with cancer. After a visit to our department VP, I had a new person to report to. So, when you're sick, and the only person bringing in money, and having people rely on you, and there's no more time off available because you've used it all on doctor visits, sometimes you work until you can't work any more.

    But, I'm all for staying home when you're contagious. Especially in a cancer hospital. :eek:
  12. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    Yes. I have paid sick time, but in order for me to call in sick, my workplace must find a substitute for me. And my job is so highly specialized that there are only a few people who can fill in — and then they can't do their regular job. I once called in on a Tuesday and my boss said, "Can you call in tomorrow instead?" :rolleyes: Needless to say, the page layout staff rarely gets to call in sick. :(

    At my part-time job (learn to skate teaching), getting a sub is a HUGE PITA, and then I lose out on the $. Luckily, I've taught for long enough that I've probably gotten everything I could from those germy little 5-year-olds.
  13. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    I think that unfortunately for all the talk that corporate america (and probably anywhere else) that they want a healthy workplace, corporations do everything to prevent that from happening and demand that people come into work sick.
    Many policies/barriers are:
    • if you are sick you need to produce a doctor's note
    • you can't go to the doctor because you either don't have insurance because it is too expensive or there is a long waiting time for an appointment with your PPO or HMO doctor office
    • you have only x number of hours/days for PTO, including your vacation hours
    • you can only call in sick or need unscheduled personal time up to 3 times in a 12 month period. If you call in more than that you are suspended without pay for 2 days and it affects your eligibility for cost of living raises
    • you have to save your sick days for either your parents' or your children's illnesses or in some cases both
    I don't think people want to come to work sick - after all they feel like shite. There are just so many barriers to staying home.
    Gazpacho and (deleted member) like this.
  14. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    So I will ask a question.

    How many people here actually get sick leave? If you do how many days do you get? And can you accumulate them each year?

    Sorry that was three questions.

    Where I am you get 15 days each year (I think 5 are without a certificate) and then what you don't take gets carried over to the next year.
  15. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

    12 sick days per year
    15 vacation days per year
    4 personal days per year

    Sick leave can be carried over, but only up to 90 days.
    Vacation leave can carry over up to 30 days. Any more than 30 days will be lost on December 31st
    Personal days do not carry over.
  16. Twilight1

    Twilight1 Well-Known Member

    We are allowed 4 sick occurences per year. You can call in for up to 4 days per each occurence but if calling in for the 5th day, you must produce a doctors note.

    However, AFTER those 4 occurences are used up, each subsequent sick occurence, you do not get paid for the initial day, but will for subsequent days.

    From an HR standpoint, I just don't get it. I had to use one sick occurence already this year when I had that stomach flu. Because my immune system went to the crapper...literally... I got a cold right after the flu. Luckily, the 2st couple days I was already off, but I still have a chronic cough from that cold.

    Our sick occurences do not get carried over. You don't use them, then too bad. But then, who really wants to be sick?

    Every 6 weeks is a drop week for me (a week off), I get 4 weeks vacation and 4 lieu days on top of that.
  17. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    I get 5 sick days and 10 days PTO, I can use any day for any reason they are not picky but if I don't use it by the end of the year I lose it and if I use more I don't get paid.

    We do get paid for unused PTO but only at 1/2 pay.

    I'm happy my company is pretty flexible though.
  18. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

    I've been guilty of going in to work sick (not deathly, but enough to not feel well). And the reason is because my last boss made me feel really guilty about calling in, and I'm a push over. But then she turns around and tells everyone that if they're sick, don't come to work. Make up your mind!

    As for sick time, at my last job, it started out as about 5 sick days a year & 14 days vacation. But a few years ago, they basically combined them into one PTO account, which sucked because the accrual rate went way down, and we ended up with just 14 days PTO a year. So if you got sick, there goes a week of vacation time.
    Cheylana and (deleted member) like this.
  19. Kasey

    Kasey Correcting President Trump's grammar on Twitter :)

    We have PTO that covers regular sick days (up to 5 a year until you get a talking to) and vacation, combined; but we do have extended illness leave, for surgery, serious illness, etc, that accrues at a lower rate and you can't use it without corporate approval.

    considering we're a hospital, you would think they would want sick employees to stay home; uh, nope. Unless you have a doctor's note stating you have Ebola, and are bleeding out of your eyelids, you'd better get yer ass there. I had to call out 2 days with the severe vertigo that had me basically crawling to the bathroom rather than walking; on the second day, a Saturday, I was forced by my manager to come in to our ER to be seen and have a doctor's excuse for the sick call (even though our HR policy doesn't require a doc note until sick day #3)
  20. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    That's the thing that gets me - the first grad student had every excuse to NOT come into work. Not only was she seriously ill, she's a single mother to two young children and I'm sure she would have appreciated having a little time at home not worrying about having to go anywhere! And as I mentioned, my boss is really lenient about letting you stay home if you're sick. Absolutely no excuse at all. I have no idea what went through her head going to classes AND work that ill. She says she had to leave the room several times each class period so she wouldn't disrupt the class with her coughing, but everybody could hear it outside anyway. :shuffle: And a number of people who sat next to her in class haven't been there in the past few days. :shuffle:

    I honestly think it never occurred to her that she could be that dangerous around other people. Even her mom told her to stay home so she wouldn't get other people sick, but she said she'd be careful and wash her hands often and only cough into her sleeve, etc. Apparently wasn't enough. :eek:

    She's also the kind of person who kind of goes nuts if she goes outside her normal routine, so if she stayed at home sick for an entire week she'd probably feel extremely guilty about it. Despite all the obvious signs that she had to take care of herself.

    Hopefully she's learned her lesson now that she's cut a giant swath of respiratory infectious carnage across her social circle. :p
  21. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I hate combined PTO leave. Not only does it tend to be way less (because of the payout issues/liability to the company), but people don't want to use their vacation for sick time, so it means most people will do anything to avoid using it for sick time.

    I'm fortunate to work somewhere with very generous leave benefits, but it wasn't always so. 20 years ago I managed a coffee shop while the owners went to LA to become movie stars. I was put on salary, and before they left they made me sign something saying that if I was sick and needed someone else to cover my shift, the wages would come out of my paycheck. I signed it, because I rarely get sick. Wouldn't you know it - I got the sickest I'd been in about 12 years. Bronchitis. And I worked every single shift of my food-service job, because I had no insurance, made $7.50 an hour and couldn't afford to have my paycheck docked. The owners did feel bad when they heard how sick I was and they paid the bill for my doctor visit, but they didn't take back the clause about docking my salary if someone else had to work for me (which I'm pretty sure is illegal, but I didn't know that then).

    I can still remember willing myself not to cough when customers were in the shop, and then going and hacking up a lung the second they left. :shuffle: I washed my hands A LOT during that time
  22. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    I get 5 days a year, they roll over every year and I think you top out at 30 days. I call in sick once or maybe twice a year, and I'm in my 7th year at my current workplace, so I probably have close to the max.

    When I hit my 5-year anniversary, I got 3 weeks PTO. (plus last year I had 4 weeks of furloughs - talk about torture, 7 weeks off and no $ to do anything interesting) Everyone gets 3 personal days every year. All of this time is "granted" rather than earned :)rofl::rolleyes:), and we cannot roll over time nor are we paid out for unused time off when we quit.

    A friend of mine works for a giant corporate behemoth, and they get 1/2 day Fridays between Memorial and Labor days. Meanwhile I just lucked into having my days off be Friday/Saturday, instead of Monday/Saturday (and before that, sometimes Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Saturday or some heinous combination). Needless to say, I am insanely JEALOUS. :)
  23. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    We do not have a limit on the number of sick days per se, but on the 3rd occurrence and on up, on a rolling 12 month calendar, you have to bring a doctor's note. I believe we also have to bring a doctor's note if you are out more than 3 days in a row. This is obviously to keep people from gaming the system, and they figure, if you are sick that much perhaps you need extra medical attention. Also, you can be out up to 6 months continuously and still receive your full pay and benefits. I was out for a couple months when I broke my ankle, due to that and some complications. And then if you can come back for a day, a legitimate full day, that 6 month clock resets and you are eligible again.

    Some people do come in when they're sick, but it's not too much of a problem. I've been very fortunate this winter and have not had a single cold. (knock on wood) And a friend of mine was pretty sick last Thursday and had kissed me goodbye 3 days before that and I still haven't gotten sick. :HA!:
  24. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    Tp answer Aussie Willy, the employer that I had previous job
    PTO = the first year you were granted the 6 major holiday pay, no PTO or sick leave then after the first year your hours were calculated on a % of time you work and number of years you worked the calculation % when up. Up to a limited amount. You could carry over some hours, but never more than X hours. Very complicated rules, but as Kasey said call ins are limited and you get reprimanded and then suspended.
    This was a hospital setting, where you would think they wouldn't want you to come in sick. :rolleyes:
  25. Cupid

    Cupid Well-Known Member

    We get 15 personal time off days a year to be used for illness, funerals, mental health days, etc. What I notice with people is that they DO come in sick because they want to save their days off for impromptu sick days i.e., Mondays, Fridays. They wake up and think, crap, I'm calling in sick today because I partied too much last night, stayed up too late, the weather is going to be beautiful, etc.

    Someone earlier up said they had to bring a doctor's note in. Well, our insurance makes us pay a $30 copay for an office visit, so that's a little much to ask low wage earners to cough up the money for a note.
  26. judiz

    judiz Well-Known Member

    I'm a preschool teacher and do you know how many times I have been sick this year because parents send their kids in coughing and sneezing? I had one poor child vomit from coughing so much and because he didn't have a fever, we couldn't send him home. Love it (sarcastic here) when parents fill their kids with tylenol to lower a fever so they can get a few hours of work in until the fever returns and they have to pick their kid up. We always know because the kids tell us mommy gave them the red medicine for a fever.
  27. mrr50

    mrr50 Well-Known Member

    An acquaintance, please note that i don't want to claim anything closer, owns a company that allows five sick/vacation days per year for the first 5 years, no carryover. The pay is just above minimum wage. health insurance is not good. Need additional sick time, you're fired. no kidding. he is quite gleeful about it.
  28. Sarah

    Sarah Well-Known Member

    Same here except I only have 3 personal days (eventually I'll have 4) and our calendar ends June 30th.

    Unfortunately, I'm a new employee and must earn my vacation/sick time and cannot use any leave for the first 6 months. I was just out 2 days with a horrible stomach flu and had to take it as unpaid leave. I have the sick time already, but can't use it. Talk about frustrating. I'd have taken a 3rd day off, but couldn't afford to. Luckily I was sick Th/F and had the weekend to recover, but I was still so weak on Monday. But, not contagious.

    This is the first job I've had that actually gives me vacation/sick days/benefits. It's really hard to take time off when you don't have pto. If I can work, I need the money (that said, most of my sick days are usually migraines where physically I can't do anything but lay around in a dark room)...
  29. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    We get 80 hours to cover our own sick time, medical appts, staying home with a sick child, school events, etc. In addition, staff get 80-160 hours vacation time based on length of service. The unused time cannot be carried over.
  30. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

    I am in the US, and I am salaried, not hourly. In all the places I've ever worked, that means 0 sick days. Here I have 0 sick days, maybe 17 vacation days (I've been here 10 years, so have more vacation time than many people here), and 3 personal holidays. Nothing carries over.