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Is sick leave a target at your company?

Managers joke about sick leave being a target, and it is not for most of us, but people who think sick leave is an annual entitlement are a problem.

Why?   It is built into company overheads, isn't it?   Well, no, not really.   Its more of an actuarial risk calculation taking into account that most people will not take their 30 day allocation every 3 years.

The individuals who ensure that they get their full entitlement are often quite indignant if they are questioned, but it does have a downside for them.

When something really serious occurs, there is bound to be less flexibility from management, who are now more likely to "work to rule", too.

In addition, a growing number of companies are ring fencing the perks that go over the BCOE rules ie additional leave days for long service are aligned with attendance over the period.

Extra days for paternity leave are following a similar pattern.

You should be able to take guilt free sick leave when you are ill but "throwing a sickie" or "having a duvet day" when you just feel like time off, can come back to haunt you.

So here are some of the side effects of taking an unauthorised sick day:

  1. All the work will still be there tomorrow, plus..
  2. You can't really leave the house, because you are bound to be spotted, illegal sick days are always the time when you bump into the boss's spouse at the local coffee shop.
  3. Anxiety - what if they ask for a doctor's note?
  4. Your colleague who has to field your work gets really annoyed with you
  5. Its hard to take just one day in the middle of the week, because you don't look or sound ill the next day, so Fridays and Mondays are best, but then you need a doctor's certificate............
It is so important to build trust between employer and employee around leave.   Employers need to build some flexibility into the model, and employees need to use time off responsibly.

Doesn't that sound sensible and practical but extremely difficult to implement?

One problem is that the employees who are using sick leave as an addition to their holiday leave are not ready to admit that they are at fault, instead they frequently blame the company's unreasonable demands on their time!

Some ideas

A focus on sick leave, monitoring those who consistently take a day per month, as well as looking for other patterns in individuals or groups, draws attention to the issue, and starts to drive the right behaviour in both staff and management.
                                     
There are companies who reward low sick day usage, and this can be a good idea.  Of course, the genuinely ill may seen to be disadvantaged by this model.

As mentioned above, align "extras" with attendance, it can make a difference.

And ending with the wonderful aunty acid.   



Don't we all?


Links, References and Notes

Throwing a Sickie  (very interesting input from respondees to the question)

Accsys (Pty) Ltd

BCOE - Basic Conditions of Employment

www.auntyacid.com

Note


Thank you for reading Teryl@Work.   Should you wish to use any of the material, please acknowledge this blog as the source.



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