Author Topic: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave  (Read 12375 times)

arebelspy

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #150 on: October 25, 2017, 11:52:29 AM »
I'm not tracking what your point is over your last few comments.
...
You think their usage of sick leave should be more closely monitored to catch abusers

You automatically assume abuse. I'm asking if it really is. That's the point of this thread.
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scantee

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #151 on: October 25, 2017, 12:10:41 PM »
I'm not tracking what your point is over your last few comments.
...
You think their usage of sick leave should be more closely monitored to catch abusers

You automatically assume abuse. I'm asking if it really is. That's the point of this thread.

I'm not assuming abuse.

My opinion is that this is, like pretty much everything in life, not a black and white situation. There is a spectrum of ethicality from almost universally agreed as totally ethical (using a sick day because you're vomiting from food poisoning) to totally unethical (booking a seven-day vacation to Hawaii six months advance and then charging it to sick time). The disagreement here is over the big grey area in between those two poles and where each of us places our dividing line. I place my line in such a place that I don't think there are a lot of unethical uses of sick time.

arebelspy

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #152 on: October 25, 2017, 12:19:42 PM »


I'm not tracking what your point is over your last few comments.
...
You think their usage of sick leave should be more closely monitored to catch abusers

You automatically assume abuse. I'm asking if it really is. That's the point of this thread.

I'm not assuming abuse.
...
 totally unethical (booking a seven-day vacation to Hawaii six months advance and then charging it to sick time).

That line to me seems to be assuming abuse.
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kanga1622

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #153 on: October 25, 2017, 12:24:14 PM »
Our policy is clearly spelled out that sick leave is not to be used when kids are sick or you are taking care of someone else - it is to be used only if the employee is sick or for medical appointments. I can honestly say that makes very little sense to me and both DH and I (work for the same employer in very different capacities as this is a very large employer) have called in sick when taking care of kids. Typically because if the kids are sick with fevers or a stomach bug, we likely have the same or a milder version (this sorta gives us the "okay" to stay home to recover ourselves). If they are honestly out with ear infections or other non contagious things, we use vacation days. We also are honest and use vacation days when we are out because daycare is closed or school has a conference day and we don't have care for our school aged kid.

I have a huge dose of Catholic guilt and feel like my conscience should be my guide. I have always had good supervisors where being open/honest about my reasons for not being at work has created a great working relationship. I have ZERO fear that my sick leave usage will ever be an issue and have done everything within my power to schedule surgery or other procedures to be the least disruptive.

I have always wondered how employers that have payout policies estimate how much expense to "hold back" to cover leave for retiring/leaving employees. Think about how some of those leave hours were earned 20 years ago at a much lower salary vs. the payout rate.

scantee

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #154 on: October 25, 2017, 12:38:20 PM »


I'm not tracking what your point is over your last few comments.
...
You think their usage of sick leave should be more closely monitored to catch abusers

You automatically assume abuse. I'm asking if it really is. That's the point of this thread.

I'm not assuming abuse.
...
 totally unethical (booking a seven-day vacation to Hawaii six months advance and then charging it to sick time).

That line to me seems to be assuming abuse.

It is. For me. My personal line is that there are a few instances in which someone could abuse their sick time in unethical ways (e.g., using sick time for pre-planned vacations). Others might not think that this, or any use of sick time in any way, is abuse. Others think things I find completely ethical (occasional mental health days) as abuse. It seems the relevant question is figuring out a norm for what constitutes ethical/unethical that takes into account all of these varying perspectives.

arebelspy

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #155 on: October 25, 2017, 12:43:14 PM »


It seems the relevant question is figuring out a norm for what constitutes ethical/unethical that takes into account all of these varying perspectives.

Even if we could all agree on a moral framework, we'd still all interpret it differently.

Not least because of the fundamental attribution error.

I think the question is meant to solicit the various opinions, rather than try to reach consensus.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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robartsd

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #156 on: October 25, 2017, 03:06:49 PM »
I'm very glad that my company doesn't have separate sick leave.  We just get 4 extra days of PTO per year and if you are sick more than a week, short term disability kicks in.  Having said that, they recently changed their policy and will not be paying out any unused PTO days when an employee leaves, so I am definitely planning to use it all up before I quit next year.  But at least I don't have to pretend to be sick :-)
In some states (I'm in California) the employer is required to pay out PTO at separation.

There is a fellow at my work who has accrued something over 5,000 hours of sick time in decades on the job. Because he never takes his vacation time or sick time - just comp time from working extra hours other times. Annually, the vacation (above a cap) rolls into sick time, which is unlimited.

No sick payout at retirement, but it does count as "time served" toward the retirement check.
That's crazy! Why would sick time roll over like that? It seems like it defeats the purpose of sick time--it's not like your frequency of sickness has any correlation to how long you've been with a company :)
I've never heard of vacation rolling into sick time (I think that would be illegal in California too, but California does allow a vacation cap where you stop accruing vacation - I imagine that a policy that increases sick leave accrual when you reach the vacation cap would be allowable). I think the idea behind treating unused sick as time worked is that people who work until normal retirement age are likely to require more sick time in their last few years. Eventually it gets to the point where it would be better to have them officially retire than accept the increasing frequency of unplanned time off. Of course lots of people also game the system, burning vacation & sick leave before separating; this can have even more advantage than converting sick time to service time - in some cases they get the time paid, they get the service time, and they accrue more leave credits while doing it.

LOL seriously?  You honestly don't think that vacation can be used for everything?
DW worked for a company that pressured employees to schedule at least x consecutive days of vacation each year - lots of parents there stressed out about not having enough PTO if someone got sick.


surfhb

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #157 on: October 25, 2017, 03:55:27 PM »
If taking a sick day put any hardships on my co workers I would definitely think twice before taking one.    Fortunately that's not the case. 

I've literally have "texted in sick" with my wetsuit on ready to paddle out on a beautiful California Day.....now that could be called a mental health day for sure. :)   

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #158 on: October 25, 2017, 04:24:13 PM »
I'd say start taking the occasional mental health day, once or twice a month. It really can do wonders for your productivity, so there's no need to feel guilty. You don't have to use it all up, but you don't have to let it all just sit there either.

It should not be a burden to your coworkers; if your company budgets X days of sick leave per person as part of the compensation package, then that's how many lost days they've already budgeted for.

Most places I've worked that have separate sick leave & vacation don't let sick leave roll over; you get maybe 2 weeks a year, and it vanishes at the end of each year. Yours sounds like an unusual situation.

This.

You are due those sick days, use them for Mental Health. This is a very valid reason.

mm1970

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #159 on: October 25, 2017, 04:25:51 PM »
Our policy is clearly spelled out that sick leave is not to be used when kids are sick or you are taking care of someone else - it is to be used only if the employee is sick or for medical appointments. I can honestly say that makes very little sense to me and both DH and I (work for the same employer in very different capacities as this is a very large employer) have called in sick when taking care of kids. Typically because if the kids are sick with fevers or a stomach bug, we likely have the same or a milder version (this sorta gives us the "okay" to stay home to recover ourselves). If they are honestly out with ear infections or other non contagious things, we use vacation days. We also are honest and use vacation days when we are out because daycare is closed or school has a conference day and we don't have care for our school aged kid.

I have a huge dose of Catholic guilt and feel like my conscience should be my guide. I have always had good supervisors where being open/honest about my reasons for not being at work has created a great working relationship. I have ZERO fear that my sick leave usage will ever be an issue and have done everything within my power to schedule surgery or other procedures to be the least disruptive.

I have always wondered how employers that have payout policies estimate how much expense to "hold back" to cover leave for retiring/leaving employees. Think about how some of those leave hours were earned 20 years ago at a much lower salary vs. the payout rate.
Well, every employer that I've worked for has used a system (now online) where they track your accrued sick time and vacation time.  It's expensed (or listed as money owed) by your hourly rate.  Thus, a few years ago, when we were running out of money and had a lot of "debt" to the employees, the company required employees to use a week of vacation before X date.  To get it off the books.

When I was in the military, the fed govt employees could accrue sick time with no cap.  However, you could "donate" hours.  And it wasn't money.  When one of our secretaries took 9 months off to care for her dying mother, many of the employees donated their excess vacation/ sick time to her.  Let me tell ya, GS-13s, 14s, 15s and SESs make way more than a secretary.  Fed Govt saved money there!
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 04:27:27 PM by mm1970 »

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #160 on: October 25, 2017, 05:07:58 PM »
In this past page, everyone seems to have zeroed in on the definition of a govt worker calling in sick necessitating a payment for another individual to do their job. In the case of teachers, yes. That doesn't mean that every other agency runs the same way. In the case of healthcare, (especially in the case of salaried workers) frequently people just absorb the extra work of the missing person and it doesn't necessarily create more hours billed.

I also take an issue with the thought that people can abuse private corporations but the government is off limits. If we are going to be held to a certain standard let's apply it evenly. Fraud is bad in every situation but let's not pretend that suddenly the government is the only one that would suffer. We all pay the indirect costs of a company who is paying out excesses due to fraud. For the record I don't give a shit if the occasional day is taken but blatant abuse needs to be identified and the person disciplined. I also agree with the person before who mentioned how ridiculous it is to be forced to get a Drs note. It is frequently impossible to get a same day appointment unless you go to urgent care and wait. And I can;t think of a more miserable way to spend my day than to have my insurance possibly not cover an urgent care visit where I Am sitting in the waiting room for 2 hours with vomiting and diarrhea, exposing all the other urgent care visitors to my illness.
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Jouer

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #161 on: October 26, 2017, 06:43:10 AM »
Quote
With State + Federal leave, for a regular birth, you are allowed 22 weeks off (not necessarily all paid, but guaranteed time off with your job held, assuming you work for a large enough company).  So, if you REALLY want to max out your time off, what you do is make sure you go out on mat leave with zero vacation time / PTO saved up.

Little bit of foam here but.....that is really crappy! 22 weeks? That's it?

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #162 on: October 26, 2017, 08:13:22 AM »
Quote
With State + Federal leave, for a regular birth, you are allowed 22 weeks off (not necessarily all paid, but guaranteed time off with your job held, assuming you work for a large enough company).  So, if you REALLY want to max out your time off, what you do is make sure you go out on mat leave with zero vacation time / PTO saved up.

Little bit of foam here but.....that is really crappy! 22 weeks? That's it?

22 weeks is a luxury.  In my first in state government job, I got 6 weeks off.  That's all you get for a regular birth if you are not eligible for FMLA leave.   

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #163 on: October 26, 2017, 08:27:56 AM »
I wonder how much of the viewpoint of Americans regarding sick leave is driven by the relatively minimal holiday time and leave that you get relative to the rest of the world.

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #164 on: October 26, 2017, 09:29:28 AM »
My gov't accrued sick leave is accounted for and carried as a liability in addition to my annual and comp leave balances.  Since I am under an "old" plan I'll be paid out for any remaining accrued leave upon retirement.  I'm planning to have a mixed payout between cash, additional to deferred comp and additional credited service (so higher monthly pension $$$).  I'm not taking sick leave in week blocks or anything for vacation, just mixing some sick leave days into the mix here and there to achieve my desired end results. 

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #165 on: October 26, 2017, 09:46:17 AM »
My gov't accrued sick leave is accounted for and carried as a liability in addition to my annual and comp leave balances.  Since I am under an "old" plan I'll be paid out for any remaining accrued leave upon retirement.  I'm planning to have a mixed payout between cash, additional to deferred comp and additional credited service (so higher monthly pension $$$).  I'm not taking sick leave in week blocks or anything for vacation, just mixing some sick leave days into the mix here and there to achieve my desired end results.

Yes, I think it is agreed that sick leave that will be paid out is accounted for. The question whether or not use it or lose it sick leave is actuarized.

mm1970

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #166 on: October 26, 2017, 10:03:22 AM »
Quote
With State + Federal leave, for a regular birth, you are allowed 22 weeks off (not necessarily all paid, but guaranteed time off with your job held, assuming you work for a large enough company).  So, if you REALLY want to max out your time off, what you do is make sure you go out on mat leave with zero vacation time / PTO saved up.

Little bit of foam here but.....that is really crappy! 22 weeks? That's it?
That is quite honestly probably the most generous state-mandated leave you can get.  If you have a caesarian, it will be 24 weeks.  For a regular birth, it breaks down as such:

Prior to due date: 4 weeks (FMLA leave + PDL -  pregnancy disability leave pay at 55-60%)
Weeks 1-6 Post-birth: 6 weeks (FMLA leave + PDL pay)
Weeks 7 - 12 Post-birth after your disability is over (after 6 weeks, generally - 8 weeks if Caesarian, longer if you are disabled by birth): 6 weeks (FMLA + CFRA + PFL paid family leave at 55% pay)
Weeks 13 - 18 Post birth: Remaining CFRA leave, no pay.

CFRA is California state-mandated leave, which runs concurrently with FMLA (federal leave) but does NOT run concurrently with PDL (disability leave).  So the actual leave time post-birth if your company is large enough comes from mostly disability + CFRA.

Some companies are more generous, but none that I've ever worked for.

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #167 on: October 26, 2017, 10:40:47 AM »
Our policy is clearly spelled out that sick leave is not to be used when kids are sick or you are taking care of someone else - it is to be used only if the employee is sick or for medical appointments. I can honestly say that makes very little sense to me and both DH and I (work for the same employer in very different capacities as this is a very large employer) have called in sick when taking care of kids. Typically because if the kids are sick with fevers or a stomach bug, we likely have the same or a milder version (this sorta gives us the "okay" to stay home to recover ourselves). If they are honestly out with ear infections or other non contagious things, we use vacation days. We also are honest and use vacation days when we are out because daycare is closed or school has a conference day and we don't have care for our school aged kid.

I have a huge dose of Catholic guilt and feel like my conscience should be my guide. I have always had good supervisors where being open/honest about my reasons for not being at work has created a great working relationship. I have ZERO fear that my sick leave usage will ever be an issue and have done everything within my power to schedule surgery or other procedures to be the least disruptive.

I have always wondered how employers that have payout policies estimate how much expense to "hold back" to cover leave for retiring/leaving employees. Think about how some of those leave hours were earned 20 years ago at a much lower salary vs. the payout rate.
Well, every employer that I've worked for has used a system (now online) where they track your accrued sick time and vacation time.  It's expensed (or listed as money owed) by your hourly rate.  Thus, a few years ago, when we were running out of money and had a lot of "debt" to the employees, the company required employees to use a week of vacation before X date.  To get it off the books.

When I was in the military, the fed govt employees could accrue sick time with no cap.  However, you could "donate" hours.  And it wasn't money.  When one of our secretaries took 9 months off to care for her dying mother, many of the employees donated their excess vacation/ sick time to her.  Let me tell ya, GS-13s, 14s, 15s and SESs make way more than a secretary.  Fed Govt saved money there!

Actually each donated day is converted to dollars based on the donor's rate of pay and then it is turned back into time based on the receiver's rate of pay. So if the GS 13 makes 100K and donates one day and the Admin makes 50K she will get two days of leave from that donation.  That's why when you beg for leave, you want it from the top.

A Definite Beta Guy

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #168 on: October 26, 2017, 12:26:51 PM »
My gov't accrued sick leave is accounted for and carried as a liability in addition to my annual and comp leave balances.  Since I am under an "old" plan I'll be paid out for any remaining accrued leave upon retirement.  I'm planning to have a mixed payout between cash, additional to deferred comp and additional credited service (so higher monthly pension $$$).  I'm not taking sick leave in week blocks or anything for vacation, just mixing some sick leave days into the mix here and there to achieve my desired end results.

Yes, I think it is agreed that sick leave that will be paid out is accounted for. The question whether or not use it or lose it sick leave is actuarized.

Generally speaking, no, I do not think companies carry a liability for sick time if it is "use it or lose it."

I've used a lot of sick time this year for appointments...maybe 5 days worth. My last company had me so busy I couldn't take more than an hour off without getting swamped, so I let a LOT of health stuff go. My dentist was not happy with me.

mm1970

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #169 on: October 26, 2017, 01:25:22 PM »
Our policy is clearly spelled out that sick leave is not to be used when kids are sick or you are taking care of someone else - it is to be used only if the employee is sick or for medical appointments. I can honestly say that makes very little sense to me and both DH and I (work for the same employer in very different capacities as this is a very large employer) have called in sick when taking care of kids. Typically because if the kids are sick with fevers or a stomach bug, we likely have the same or a milder version (this sorta gives us the "okay" to stay home to recover ourselves). If they are honestly out with ear infections or other non contagious things, we use vacation days. We also are honest and use vacation days when we are out because daycare is closed or school has a conference day and we don't have care for our school aged kid.

I have a huge dose of Catholic guilt and feel like my conscience should be my guide. I have always had good supervisors where being open/honest about my reasons for not being at work has created a great working relationship. I have ZERO fear that my sick leave usage will ever be an issue and have done everything within my power to schedule surgery or other procedures to be the least disruptive.

I have always wondered how employers that have payout policies estimate how much expense to "hold back" to cover leave for retiring/leaving employees. Think about how some of those leave hours were earned 20 years ago at a much lower salary vs. the payout rate.
Well, every employer that I've worked for has used a system (now online) where they track your accrued sick time and vacation time.  It's expensed (or listed as money owed) by your hourly rate.  Thus, a few years ago, when we were running out of money and had a lot of "debt" to the employees, the company required employees to use a week of vacation before X date.  To get it off the books.

When I was in the military, the fed govt employees could accrue sick time with no cap.  However, you could "donate" hours.  And it wasn't money.  When one of our secretaries took 9 months off to care for her dying mother, many of the employees donated their excess vacation/ sick time to her.  Let me tell ya, GS-13s, 14s, 15s and SESs make way more than a secretary.  Fed Govt saved money there!

Actually each donated day is converted to dollars based on the donor's rate of pay and then it is turned back into time based on the receiver's rate of pay. So if the GS 13 makes 100K and donates one day and the Admin makes 50K she will get two days of leave from that donation.  That's why when you beg for leave, you want it from the top.
That's good to know.  This was in the early to mid 90's.  I always wondered.  I was military, so we couldn't donate.

One of my coworkers retired after 40 years.  I think they paid him for 2 years after, because he rarely took vacation or sick time.

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #170 on: October 26, 2017, 06:27:12 PM »
On the accounting treatment of sick leave, I'm sure this varies, but, in my current organisation, we pay people a "loading" if they are just working casually, and this loading is meant to provide the monetary equivalent of various forms of leave.  So the theory is that it shouldn't be "cheaper" - on a per hour basis, at least - for us to hire someone casually than to do an ongoing appointment.  What saves the organisation money is that we aren't committing to paying someone throughout a whole year for work that is only needed for ten weeks or whatever.

I was in the unusual position of having a full-time "casual" appointment before I was given an ongoing appointment.  In that circumstance - when the casual hours are that high - you actually do accrue and receive annual leave - I know this, because I had brief "breaks" between casual contracts, and, since I never actually had time to take any leave during the contract period, HR "deemed" me to be on leave during those breaks, and paid out any accrued annual leave balance.  They didn't pay out any accrued sick leave balance, because I was being paid a higher wage for that purpose.  It strikes me as a bit odd, but that is, in practice, how it worked.

At some point, I was given an ongoing appointment, and my duties initial were identical to what I had been doing casually.  My pay dropped, however, because I no longer received the casual "loading".  I did, however, start accruing sick leave and entitlement for maternity leave, and also some additional retirement benefits.  I take this to mean that, in this organisation at least, these benefits are somewhat attached to a person and are viewed as fungible with monetary compensation that is actually paid out to casual staff.  That said, I think this is probably somewhat odd even within my industry (I have not found our HR people particularly reliable in their interpretation of various contractual and legal matters).  But it does lend itself to the impression that the sick leave "belongs" to the staff member, which in turn I think has led to this practice of people burning through it when they plan to quit.

My previous employer had a leave donation system, and I really like that and wish they had it here.  I have a good temporary disability insurance benefit that kicks in after six months of serious illness, and carries until long-term disability insurance kicks in: I could see some logic in accruing enough sick leave to carry through until the temporary disability insurance benefit is available, but I've already accrued sick leave in excess of that waiting period, and it would make sense for excess to go into a pool for whoever needs it.

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #171 on: November 23, 2017, 04:19:30 AM »
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dcamnc

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #172 on: November 23, 2017, 05:30:58 AM »
I would take every bit I could with no F's given. Who is truly ethical these days? I gave up trying to be the good guy, screw them.

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #173 on: November 23, 2017, 06:47:48 AM »
I had six weeks of personal leave saved up and felt the way you do.

Then suddenly out of the blue I got a debilitating illness.
This is why I hoard my 300+ sick days.  None of us know when something serious will strike. 
Our policy is clearly spelled out that sick leave is not to be used when kids are sick or you are taking care of someone else - it is to be used only if the employee is sick or for medical appointments.
Good policies are spelled out clearly.  My sick days can be used for multiple things:  My own sickness, my own doctor visits, I need to care for an immediate family member who is sick, I need to drive an immediate family member to the doctor, I am quarantined (okay, I've never known anyone to actually use it for that purpose), or the funeral of an immediate family member.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 06:50:58 AM by MrsPete »

surfhb

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #174 on: November 23, 2017, 10:43:29 AM »

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #175 on: November 23, 2017, 12:21:42 PM »
My GF manages large numbers of people at a hospital. She routinely has to have sick leave management discussions with her staff. They fall into two camps:

1. folks that are always sick Fri/Mon and never accumulate sick leave
2. folks with sudden serious illnesses that requires time off, but they've used all their sick leave at #1

It's quite hard to stop folks from abusing sick leave since proving the person is not sick is hard. That said every year someone gets caught at the ski hill when they were supposed to be working and had called in sick. You don't get terminated for that, but it's written up and could result in termination if there were other previous disciplinary matters on your file.

The second situation is quite sad because a lot of these folks are begging her to be paid while they are off sick as they can't pay their mortgage/bills without their income and she's got to tell them there is nothing she can do since they have burned through all their sick leave already. She points them to the appropriate Gov't welfare/support programs, but when you are used to earning $100K/yr they don't help much.

My GF has had a couple surgeries and a few other non-trivial illnesses since she's worked at that hospital for the last 8yrs and still has many weeks of accumulated sick leave available. It's a generous program.

My advice is to use sick leave if you are sick. If you aren't sick save it. You really never know when you will get diagnosed with an aggressive cancer or something else serious. It could be in the last year before planned FIRE when you have "cunningly" eaten up most of your sick leave because you wanted to take as much as possible from your organization. Then you are faced with some tough choices.

Sick leave is essentially a type of insurance. If insurance fraud is unpalatable to your ethics than sick leave fraud should be as well.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 12:24:43 PM by Retire-Canada »

Nudelkopf

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #176 on: November 23, 2017, 01:28:06 PM »
I'm a teacher & taking an unplanned sick day is so much work. I still have to go into school to leave work on my desk for my 4x1.5hr classes. I was in hospital one night & still had to go in the next morning before 7am to leave work on my desk.

So, I regularly take planned mental health days. I'll plan a week in advance (though no one else generally knows) if I'm going to take a day off, so I can plan those lessons well ahead of time.

That being said, I also lose my planning time when others are sick. I have a little system in my head where it works out evenly. If I cover a day of someone else's classes, then I take a mental health day with zero guilt.

Every morning, my school sends out an email with all the people absent that day - from sick leave to bereavement leave to pre-natal leave. Really annoying... especially if you're pregnant & didn't really plan on telling anyone, but they publish "pre-natal sick leave" under your reason for being absent.

Peter Parker

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #177 on: November 23, 2017, 01:30:40 PM »

Every morning, my school sends out an email with all the people absent that day - from sick leave to bereavement leave to pre-natal leave. Really annoying... especially if you're pregnant & didn't really plan on telling anyone, but they publish "pre-natal sick leave" under your reason for being absent.

Seems like a HIPPA violation??


couponvan

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #178 on: November 23, 2017, 03:38:15 PM »
I'm a teacher & taking an unplanned sick day is so much work. I still have to go into school to leave work on my desk for my 4x1.5hr classes. I was in hospital one night & still had to go in the next morning before 7am to leave work on my desk.

So, I regularly take planned mental health days. I'll plan a week in advance (though no one else generally knows) if I'm going to take a day off, so I can plan those lessons well ahead of time.

That being said, I also lose my planning time when others are sick. I have a little system in my head where it works out evenly. If I cover a day of someone else's classes, then I take a mental health day with zero guilt.

Every morning, my school sends out an email with all the people absent that day - from sick leave to bereavement leave to pre-natal leave. Really annoying... especially if you're pregnant & didn't really plan on telling anyone, but they publish "pre-natal sick leave" under your reason for being absent.

This is my company....where they publish XXXXX time in someone's schedule without saying "what" it is for 6 months in the future for 16 weeks. It effectively announces "PREGGO!!!!" to the rest of the world (or at least all the women).
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Nudelkopf

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #179 on: November 23, 2017, 05:15:45 PM »
Every morning, my school sends out an email with all the people absent that day - from sick leave to bereavement leave to pre-natal leave. Really annoying... especially if you're pregnant & didn't really plan on telling anyone, but they publish "pre-natal sick leave" under your reason for being absent.
Seems like a HIPPA violation??
I'm in Australia. I guess you could take sick leave without telling anyone you're pregnant, but you get extra pregnancy specific sick leave, so I guess you gotta weigh it up.

Raenia

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #180 on: November 24, 2017, 07:14:18 AM »
My GF manages large numbers of people at a hospital. She routinely has to have sick leave management discussions with her staff. They fall into two camps:

1. folks that are always sick Fri/Mon and never accumulate sick leave
2. folks with sudden serious illnesses that requires time off, but they've used all their sick leave at #1

It's quite hard to stop folks from abusing sick leave since proving the person is not sick is hard. That said every year someone gets caught at the ski hill when they were supposed to be working and had called in sick. You don't get terminated for that, but it's written up and could result in termination if there were other previous disciplinary matters on your file.

The second situation is quite sad because a lot of these folks are begging her to be paid while they are off sick as they can't pay their mortgage/bills without their income and she's got to tell them there is nothing she can do since they have burned through all their sick leave already. She points them to the appropriate Gov't welfare/support programs, but when you are used to earning $100K/yr they don't help much.

My GF has had a couple surgeries and a few other non-trivial illnesses since she's worked at that hospital for the last 8yrs and still has many weeks of accumulated sick leave available. It's a generous program.

My advice is to use sick leave if you are sick. If you aren't sick save it. You really never know when you will get diagnosed with an aggressive cancer or something else serious. It could be in the last year before planned FIRE when you have "cunningly" eaten up most of your sick leave because you wanted to take as much as possible from your organization. Then you are faced with some tough choices.

Sick leave is essentially a type of insurance. If insurance fraud is unpalatable to your ethics than sick leave fraud should be as well.

This advice is great if your employer allows rollover of sick time, but many employers do not.  Mine is use-it-or-lose-it at the end of the year.  I wasn't planning on taking my remaining sick days, but a few days ago my supervisor sent out a reminder to use up all our time because it doesn't roll over, which is making me think maybe I should use up those last few days.

simonsez

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #181 on: November 24, 2017, 07:51:30 AM »
This is my company....where they publish XXXXX time in someone's schedule without saying "what" it is for 6 months in the future for 16 weeks. It effectively announces "PREGGO!!!!" to the rest of the world (or at least all the women).
I mean, what are the alternatives?  I'd be pretty pissed if I had no clue someone I was depending on for something work-related was going to be out for a chunk of time with no warning because they wanted to hide their pregnancy.  Unless he/she or the person taking leave is a FT teleworker, most people can figure a pregnancy out ahead of time due to visual cues or at least be aware of someone being out if contingency plans are made to work with someone else for a lengthy period.

Granted, we only have an extended out-of-office schedule for our branch which is 15 people (for other branches we work with they'd either hear about it less formally or see the out-of-office email simply stating when the person is coming back).  You're either working (left blank), TW for teleworking, O for training/conferences and other off-site reasons, or L for on leave with it not drilled down to annual vs sick or anything.  People have been out a long time for surgeries, illnesses, and pregnancies.  If I see someone's schedule with a lot of L's on it moving forward and I'm not sure why they would be out (I normally know already), I don't give it a second thought other than to coordinate work-related activities if that hasn't started. 

GuitarStv

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #182 on: November 24, 2017, 08:21:06 AM »
I don't get it.  Why is it so important to keep a pregnancy secret?  Isn't it going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant when you start getting the big belly before you're off on leave?

mancityfan

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #183 on: November 24, 2017, 08:33:37 AM »
I don't get it.  Why is it so important to keep a pregnancy secret?  Isn't it going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant when you start getting the big belly before you're off on leave?

Not wearing my "mansplaining pants' honest.... but, I do believe many want to keep their pregnancies "secret" for quite some time. First trimester especially has a risk of miscarriage. Also, families to be notified first, may be waiting to tell a grandparent in person for example. Also, concern about job status, being passed over for promotion, favorable assignments, becoming a potential layoff candidate. Sad, but true, discrimination in the work place is real.

Nudelkopf

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #184 on: November 24, 2017, 02:00:42 PM »
I don't get it.  Why is it so important to keep a pregnancy secret?  Isn't it going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant when you start getting the big belly before you're off on leave?
It's very normal to not announce it until after the 1st trimester. Personally, I'd rather tell friends & family first before it gets to them through the work grapevine.

I mean, what are the alternatives?  I'd be pretty pissed if I had no clue someone I was depending on for something work-related was going to be out for a chunk of time with no warning because they wanted to hide their pregnancy. 
You're going to know they're pregnant well ahead of time. Waiting a few weeks until it's announced isn't going to screw you over too much.

robartsd

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #185 on: November 30, 2017, 12:30:48 PM »
By the time someone is taking multiple consecutive days off for a pregnancy (third trimester) I don't think they're trying to keep it a secret; however, if they have to take off time for a check-up that happens to be for pre-natal before they have made their pregnacy public, I can see there being an issue with letting others know that they are pregnant.

Also, concern about job status, being passed over for promotion, favorable assignments, becoming a potential layoff candidate. Sad, but true, discrimination in the work place is real.
In my state it would be difficult to discriminate based on pregancy in a layoff situation (law requires layoff be seniority based), but subtle (possibly subconscience) discrimination in promotional opportunities and assignments could easily happen (of course any discrimination would be illegal).

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #186 on: November 30, 2017, 01:56:37 PM »
I don't get it.  Why is it so important to keep a pregnancy secret?  Isn't it going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant when you start getting the big belly before you're off on leave?
It's very normal to not announce it until after the 1st trimester. Personally, I'd rather tell friends & family first before it gets to them through the work grapevine.

This.  I had a supervisor who wanted to wait until after the 1st trimester and then after she told her manager she intended to tell the staff.  Unfortunately for her she was a toothpick wearing a clingy dress the day I realized she was pregnant way ahead of her timeline for informing work folks.  I respected her privacy and kept my mouth shut.

Wrecks

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #187 on: December 02, 2017, 04:57:52 PM »
I see all this talk about the "morality" of taking sick leave. Does a corporation show any evidence of "morality" when it downsizes to increase profits and lays people off who were doing a good job? When a department is eliminated and no effort is made to find those affected other jobs within the company? Does a corporation have any compunctions whatsoever about extracting maximum benefit from you at minimum cost?

Your relationship with your employer is transactional. Your goal is to extract maximum benefit from the corporation at minimum cost to you (you can consider your colleagues in that equation if you like).

They budgeted X days per year for sick leave, and that's part of your compensation package. Take it and don't feel bad about it.

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #188 on: December 02, 2017, 05:31:10 PM »
They budgeted X days per year for sick leave, and that's part of your compensation package. Take it and don't feel bad about it.

This. Your sick leave, along with your other benefits, are part of your total compensation package. Is it ethical to receive 100% compensation for the work you do? Yes, yes it is.
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jr1029

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #189 on: December 02, 2017, 08:20:00 PM »
My ethical dilemma with sick leave is a bit different. We get "unlimited" up until the point where you need to go on short-term disability (6 weeks).

When I'm sick, contagious, but not too sick to do my work do I:

1. Call out, cancelling my schedule of patients who may have waited weeks to see me and overburden my coworkers?
2. Go in, wear a mask, and have everyone know I'm sick, make the patients nervous, and feel guilty about it?
3. Go in and pretend my best not be sick?

Which would you prefer from your healthcare provider?

Luckily I don't get contagious-sick very often (surprising given my line of work) but it's so hard to figure out what do to. I do draw the line at actively vomiting.

sparkytheop

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #190 on: December 03, 2017, 07:28:00 PM »
Our shift has to be covered 24/7.  When I started, I was worried about taking sick leave and figured I'd schedule most appointments for my days off.  A friend who had been there for years told me that I shouldn't do that, that I should schedule dr appointments on working days whenever possible for a few reasons.  First, because it would generate overtime for someone else, and we all love getting a little overtime (you can turn it down if you don't want it, and it will go to someone who does).  Second, because management had changed to rules on other situations which specifically negatively affected only our crew (since the other crews aren't there 24/7).  So, taking sick leave required management to give us the overtime they are trying so hard to prevent us from getting (that other crews still get easily for non-shift-covering reasons, to do jobs that they should be doing on straight time).  There are more reasons, but I now have no guilt taking sick leave, even if I still don't take it very often.  As I get closer to retirement, I will make sure to do any surgeries/dental work/etc to use up as many sick days as I want.  Outside of that, I'll also start calling in sick on days I just don't feel 100%.

couponvan

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #191 on: December 06, 2017, 03:36:17 PM »
My ethical dilemma with sick leave is a bit different. We get "unlimited" up until the point where you need to go on short-term disability (6 weeks).

When I'm sick, contagious, but not too sick to do my work do I:

1. Call out, cancelling my schedule of patients who may have waited weeks to see me and overburden my coworkers?
2. Go in, wear a mask, and have everyone know I'm sick, make the patients nervous, and feel guilty about it?
3. Go in and pretend my best not be sick?

Which would you prefer from your healthcare provider?

Luckily I don't get contagious-sick very often (surprising given my line of work) but it's so hard to figure out what do to. I do draw the line at actively vomiting.

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mm1970

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #192 on: December 06, 2017, 06:32:27 PM »
I don't get it.  Why is it so important to keep a pregnancy secret?  Isn't it going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant when you start getting the big belly before you're off on leave?
It's very normal to not announce it until after the 1st trimester. Personally, I'd rather tell friends & family first before it gets to them through the work grapevine.

This.  I had a supervisor who wanted to wait until after the 1st trimester and then after she told her manager she intended to tell the staff.  Unfortunately for her she was a toothpick wearing a clingy dress the day I realized she was pregnant way ahead of her timeline for informing work folks.  I respected her privacy and kept my mouth shut.
I was 41 with #2 and wanted to wait until after the amnio results (which I didn't get until ... 18 weeks?) Luckily it was winter, so I walked around in a big fluffy sweatshirt. But still, I didn't fool everyone.  I mean, the belly pops out pretty fast with #2.  Most people just thought I was getting fat.

mm1970

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #193 on: December 06, 2017, 06:34:09 PM »
My ethical dilemma with sick leave is a bit different. We get "unlimited" up until the point where you need to go on short-term disability (6 weeks).

When I'm sick, contagious, but not too sick to do my work do I:

1. Call out, cancelling my schedule of patients who may have waited weeks to see me and overburden my coworkers?
2. Go in, wear a mask, and have everyone know I'm sick, make the patients nervous, and feel guilty about it?
3. Go in and pretend my best not be sick?

Which would you prefer from your healthcare provider?

Luckily I don't get contagious-sick very often (surprising given my line of work) but it's so hard to figure out what do to. I do draw the line at actively vomiting.

#1, and hope that your place of business has a schedule that you can squeeze them in over the next couple of weeks.

Frankly, I'd be pissed at a medical provider treating me when they were contagious.

dude

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #194 on: December 07, 2017, 07:28:07 AM »
If taking a sick day put any hardships on my co workers I would definitely think twice before taking one.    Fortunately that's not the case. 

I've literally have "texted in sick" with my wetsuit on ready to paddle out on a beautiful California Day.....now that could be called a mental health day for sure. :)

Amen, brother!  I routinely get "Powder Fever" and "Anal Glaucoma" (I just can't see my ass coming to work today!).  All these Milquetoasts and their ethical issues with taking sick leave for "non-sick" time!  Whatever! Life is really goddamned short and then you die. All this technology in our lives was supposed to have led to a life of leisure for us humans as envisioned decades ago.  Instead, we've let The Man guilt-trip us into giving up more and more of our precious time, health and psychological well-being so He can fill more Swiss bank vaults with his truckloads of cash.  Don't be a sucker, use that shit when you see fit.

jlcnuke

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #195 on: December 07, 2017, 10:36:46 AM »
I get PTO, not PTO and sick leave. As such, any days out for illness just use PTO. If I'm out for an extended period (more than 5 day) then I would stop using PTO and switch to my short-term disability instead (followed by long-term if required).

If I'm out for a day, I have to work a little harder/more effective the next day or two to catch up (mind you, generally not longer days as I can catch up on my work if necessary without extra hours for most deadlines). My absence has little-to-no impact on anyone else.

When I started my current job, I'd just make up hours if I was out sick or for a doctor's appointment etc. Years later, my management decided that any unplanned absence must use PTO instead (though we could still "plan" to make up hours as long as it was done ahead of time). This was done (imo) as retaliation by a manager who was mad that I missed work multiple times due to a medical condition (generally coming in late due to that condition) and when that particular manager threatened to fire me for that I had to get HR involved, who stopped that violation of federal and state laws in it's tracks (though my advancement potential in the company went to none at that point). So, instead of coming in late and/or making up the hours, I now take the whole day off and go do whatever sounds fun after I'm feeling better (it generally only takes a few hours to get my condition back under control). They decided to force me to use PTO, so I'll use PTO and enjoy it as best I can once I can. I don't feel guilty about it at all.
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obstinate

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #196 on: December 10, 2017, 07:10:58 PM »
All these Milquetoasts and their ethical issues
Yeah, ethics is for idiots! Morals are for morons! Doing the right thing is for rubes! Rahhhh!

Wait, this whole thread is about ethics. It's literally in the title. I don't think there's any dispute on which option is more enjoyable, convenient, fun, etc. I don't think tossing (tbf, mild) insults at people who raise ethical issues in such a thread is on the level.

obstinate

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #197 on: December 10, 2017, 07:19:40 PM »
They budgeted X days per year for sick leave, and that's part of your compensation package. Take it and don't feel bad about it.

This. Your sick leave, along with your other benefits, are part of your total compensation package. Is it ethical to receive 100% compensation for the work you do? Yes, yes it is.
Suppose you buy insurance with a coverage limit of X. You get in an accident and suffer Y damage. You get a quote to that effect from a repair shop. But you want more money, so you doctor the quote so it says X instead. The insurance company over-pays for the damage, and you pocket the money.

Is that ethical? After all, the insurance company budgeted up to X for accidents you're involved in.

In my personal framework, it surely would not be. They agreed to pay the amount of the damage, up to X. They did not agree to flatly pay X. Similarly, an employer who offers X days of sick leave is offering to pay you for up to X days where you cannot come in because you are sick. Not X days, flatly. Surely this distinction is obvious, considering there are other employers who offer a combined PTO and sick leave pool.

Now, you may have a different framework. A hedonistic ethical framework would just say to do whatever you can get away with, so long as you are happier. A pure utilitarian framework might look at the relative gains and losses of the parties, irrespective of the employment agreement. There are many other frameworks that I'm not even aware of, and they all probably have something slightly different to say. But one thing I'd say is that you shouldn't lie to yourself and pretend a thing is equivalent to another thing, when in fact it is different. Find some other rationalization besides self-deceit.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 07:21:15 PM by obstinate »

Flyingkea

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Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #198 on: December 11, 2017, 05:41:07 AM »
I don't get it.  Why is it so important to keep a pregnancy secret?  Isn't it going to be pretty obvious that you're pregnant when you start getting the big belly before you're off on leave?
I'm in this boat right now. I am 7-8 weeks pregnant, so VERY early days, and I am avoiding telling my boss, sespite the fact he is sometimes an awesome person.
Reasons I don't want to tell yet: I am worried about being passed over - if I tell him, and then an opportunity for an upgrade comes up, I don't want to be passed over for one of the guys. I've seen it happen at my employer - the guys are seem as stable, but they are very ambitious and the industry is moving so they jump at the chance to fly the heavy metal.
I don't want to be treated differently - I don't want to be coddled, and wrapped in cotton wool. I don't want my judgement to be constantly questioned - I am a flight instructor, and part of my job is assessing students to determine whether they are ready for flight tests. It would be incredibly undermining for someone to turn around and say I didn't pass a student because pregnancy was making me bitchy.
Thirdly, it really is none of my boss's business just yet. I am taking unpaid time off due to morning all day sickness, but I have just told him I have some health issues. As a pilot, we are expected to take time off - something as simple as a blocked nose can be truely incapacitating. (As a note: I have seen an aviation doctor, and he is happy for me to fly when I feel up to it)

I have already been discriminated against for having a child - I applied to a workplace, and they openly challenged my ability to work based on the fact I had a child. Twice.


On the sick leave basis, I really don't think it matters whether your employer is public or private - the minimum rules should apply to each.
My current job, I am casual (so no sick or annual leave), but my last employer we would recieve 2 weeks sick leave per year, and 6 weeks vacation (but we didn't get public holidays). Or employer also had the clause we had to provide a medical certificate if we took more than 3 days, or took leave on a day borderring an RDO. And my former boss would actually demand that medical certificate too. It was a right PITA.
At one point they had the entire aircraft fleet grounded, so they forced us all to take paid leave if we had accrued it.
Pretty sure here sick leave is for being sick, caregiving to sick dependants, and also mental health days are included in what we can use it for.
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