Author Topic: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave  (Read 12290 times)

Dicey

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6527
  • Age: 59
  • Location: NorCal
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #50 on: October 20, 2017, 10:39:58 AM »
1.  What is the math involved? 

You mentioned 10 weeks of time in service could be added to your pension.  That's roughly .4 years.  If you receive 1% per year (just guessing) and your highest year or average of whatever is in the calculation is 100k, you're looking at $400 extra/year.  If you are expecting to live 40 years past retirement this is $16,000.  If your avg salary used is 150k and you get 2%/year on your pension, this would be $1200/year or $48,000 over 40 years.

Put a ballpark price on your guilt or whatever costs of dealing with this situation and see if it is more or less than the added pension value.  Adjust accordingly to your actual pension formula and any present/future valuation differences.
On a forum where frugality and stoicism go hand-in-hand, it cracks me up that 25 replies happened before someone looked closely at the math. Good on you, simonsez!

If you're retiring young, life expectancy is even more relevant. As I read the OP's post, all leave is subjected to the 200 hour haircut, so burning that off is pointless. Another factor is that the hours were earned gradually, at lower pay rates. When paid out, is it paid at your current, and presumably highest, rate of pay?

As to the actual math, if there's a COLA included in your pension, the amount received will continue to increase over time, like compound interest.

If you are fortunate enough to get to your target retirement date without legitimately needing these sick days, then revel in your good fortune. With a little travel hacking, you could turn $1200 (or whatever the actual number is) into a nice all expense paid trip every year.

Side note: DH has a similar plan. When he first got the job, he studied the retirement plan closely. It nets him more to stockpile his sick days until retirement, so he uses vacation days if he's sick. He works a 9/80 schedule, so he gets every other Friday off anyway, plus a generous number of paid holidays, which he is a master at combining.

A side benefit of never taking sick days is the perks associated with perfect attendance.  He gets invited to annual recognition meetings, which he calls a paid half day of doing nothing + free lunch, he also regularly gets swag at the meetings. He is also considered extra badass because of his perfect health, which is pretty funny. He IS super badass, but when he does get sick, he just pulls those days out from under a different shell.

Moral of the story is that it pays to really learn your company's benefit system and work it for maximum impact on your life now and in retirement. Yes, I realize a lot of people don't stay long in their jobs these days, but for those who do, this is a great strategy to put extra bucks into your pocket.

If your job doesn't offer the perks you'd like to receive, go find another one that does, please don't whinge about it here, because it isn't relevant to the OP's question. This thread isn't as much about sick leave ethics as it is about maximizing the value of the sick time accrued. Or more precisely, learning how to wring maximum benefit from your employer's plan.
I did it! I have a journal!
A Lot Like This
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4816
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #51 on: October 20, 2017, 10:40:03 AM »
I'm salaried.  No such thing as OT.

So if someone in the team is out, and something has to get done, the team covers that day.

On average its an extra hour...so 10hr day instead of 9...for instance.



OMG, now I just have to laugh it.  A co-worker came by and mentioned he was 'leaving early' today.  His leg 'hurts'. He says there's nothing that is critical this afternoon.

Last time he said that I got bombed.  I hate Fridays.

I'm sitting here with a skinned arm and knuckles....and am pretty damn sore myself today.  Does that merit taking sick time??  Come on.

Let me go back 6 years.  I was pregnant with my second child.  And people got sick.

My boss (whose job I did when he was out) had a chest infection and two major surgeries.  Out total for 7 weeks?
Coworker #1 (whose job I did when he was out) had a week long business trip and a 2 week vacation
Coworker #2 (whose job I did when he was out) had 2 business trips and 2 vacations.

Salaried, no OT, and I was BEAT.  Literally BEAT.

But it also meant they picked up the slack when I was out on Mat Leave.  And when the kids and I got sick.  It's what you do.

mm1970

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4816
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #52 on: October 20, 2017, 10:44:43 AM »
I think it depends on your workplace.

I've worked at a few places that had the "if you are sick, stay home" policy.  You did not accrue sick time.  You had unlimited sick time, though if you got to over 25 days they'd start asking questions.  This was great because my first kid was born and I was sick as a dog that entire winter.  I was maybe healthy for 30 total days.  Yes, I still worked most of those days.  But I probably took at least 10 sick days.  As I'd been working plenty of unpaid OT for years before, zero guilt!

But then companies switched to PTO, which I hate.  Because people think that it's all vacation, and they don't want to take sick time.  So they come to work sick.

My husband gets separate sick leave, but in our state they have to pay it out when you leave.  If I worked at a place where I was awarded sick time, and it was use or lose, I'd use it - no question.  As long as it was a reasonable amount (5-7 days a year).  Where I have worked, sick time can be used for being sick, going to the doctor, or staying home with a sick kid.

Knaak

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 417
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #53 on: October 20, 2017, 10:48:09 AM »
Slee_stack, it sounds like you're the office martyr.

Stop whining and go home early.  You are clearly in need of a few mental health days.

Signed,
The guy that slept in this morning
OK.  Thanks.  Cover for me, K?

From the looks of it, all you're doing is posting on MMM from work.  So yes, I have you covered.  Well, at least until it warms up a bit more and I go for my bike ride, then you'll have to do your own posting again.  Fortunately, you can do that from home.
Yeah, I don't have (3) monitors.  Oh wait.   Do people not handle IMs and email while they work???

Of course they do, but not you.  You're so busy doing all your work, plus the work of your evil coworkers that call in sick, that you don't have time to goof off.  And you already know humans are incapable of multitasking, regardless of how many monitors they have.

Anyway, sorry for poking at you.  It must be frustrating to be in a position where you think you need to pick up the slack of your coworkers and you can't have them do the same for you, so I'll back off.  For me, I know my job isn't that important, so whether I get something done today or Monday doesn't really matter.  The world won't implode, a patient won't die, a child won't die of starvation.  It creates a lot better life/work balance when you (and your boss) figure that out.  Hopefully you don't burn out before you hit your FIRE number.

68į and sunny.  Time for my bike ride.

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 568
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #54 on: October 20, 2017, 11:36:32 AM »
If your job doesn't offer the perks you'd like to receive, go find another one that does, please don't whinge about it here, because it isn't relevant to the OP's question. This thread isn't as much about sick leave ethics as it is about maximizing the value of the sick time accrued. Or more precisely, learning how to wring maximum benefit from your employer's plan.
But isn't it 100% relevant to the OP?   

The OP posed about if he/she should take days 'here and there'.  Did they consider the impact to their fellow sad-sacks?  Isn't that an ethical consideration?

I 'whinge' because it can cause pain to other people.  Its so much more pleasant when people have each other's back in their work environment.  Its not so much fun if people are instead holding a knife to it.


Hey, we're all self-motivated.   Its why I just grit my teeth and cover the extra work that results.  Ultimately, its LESS pain/consequence for me to cover it than by NOT doing it or 'getting even'.


Suggesting to 'get another job' is great in general, but not universally.  I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I did that right now.  Every job has pros/cons.  That's irrelevant to personal ethic choices.


And that's where the ethics question (should) come in:

Not just Should I do this to maximize my personal value, but....  I recognize the personal value, but are there any consequences to doing this?   

And then think of your co-workers.   Maybe they all suck and deserve it.   Maybe they don't.

Maybe it affects them zero.  Awesome!

But was it considered in the first place? I beat the horse, and maybe the OP will indeed think about it.  If so, I did OK here.


As someone who feels the pain of people (possibly) 'abusing' sick time, I'm letting you know...it sucks.  Please don't be one of those guys

You get a gold star if you don't do it.  :D
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 11:39:00 AM by Slee_stack »

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9508
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #55 on: October 20, 2017, 11:41:09 AM »
If your job doesn't offer the perks you'd like to receive, go find another one that does, please don't whinge about it here, because it isn't relevant to the OP's question. This thread isn't as much about sick leave ethics as it is about maximizing the value of the sick time accrued. Or more precisely, learning how to wring maximum benefit from your employer's plan.
But isn't it 100% relevant to the OP?   

The OP posed about if he/she should take days 'here and there'.  Did they consider the impact to their fellow sad-sacks?  Isn't that an ethical consideration?

I 'whinge' because it can cause pain to other people.  Its so much more pleasant when people have each other's back in their work environment.  Its not so much fun if people are instead holding a knife to it.


Hey, we're all self-motivated.   Its why I just grit my teeth and cover the extra work that results.  Ultimately, its LESS pain/consequence for me to cover it than by NOT doing it or 'getting even'.


Suggesting to 'get another job' is great in general, but not universally.  I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I did that right now.  Every job has pros/cons.  That's irrelevant to personal ethic choices.


And that's where the ethics question (should) come in:

Not just Should I do this to maximize my personal value, but....  I recognize the personal value, but are there any consequences to doing this?   

And then think of your co-workers.   Maybe they all suck and deserve it.   Maybe they don't.

Maybe it affects them zero.  Awesome!

But was it considered in the first place? I beat the horse, and maybe the OP will indeed think about it.  If so, I did OK here.


As someone who feels the pain of people (possibly) 'abusing' sick time, I'm letting you know...it sucks.  Please don't be one of those guys

You get a gold star if you don't do it.  :D

To be fair, your initial whining was that anybody ever took sick leave.  Well, that and a healthy dose of "fuck parents".  I think you're just kinda cranky in general.  :P

Accidental Miser

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #56 on: October 20, 2017, 11:49:25 AM »
I suggest being thankful you were so healthy that you didn't need to use this leave.

If that doesn't work, consider the risk. Does getting fired do anything to your pension?

This. 

I am in a similar situation except that my 1000 hours is just gone.  I will donate it to other workers in need when I get a little closer to retirement.  Faking sick days is a great way to get fired at a lot of places.  Also, if there's any burden to your co-workers from calling in, then you shouldn't (I don't have this problem.  All my work is still there when I come back from being gone.)

Slee_stack

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 568
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #57 on: October 20, 2017, 11:51:49 AM »
To be fair, your initial whining was that anybody ever took sick leave.  Well, that and a healthy dose of "fuck parents".  I think you're just kinda cranky in general.  :P
If it came across like that, mea culpa.  That wasn't the intent.  I should have been clearer about 'abusing' or using sick time (for non sick purposes). 

the thread started with 'taking a day here and there' presumably 'just because'.  On the surface, I read that as 'abusing sick time'.


So...Fuck the 'abusers'.....and really ONLY if they are hurting their co-workers.  Otherwise, take it even if not sick because I'm good with the 'company planned for it' argument.

The rest was frustration.  Again...sorry for implying otherwise.  There are abusers of all demographics.

o2bfree

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #58 on: October 20, 2017, 12:03:36 PM »
Ethically, I think it's ok to take an illegitimate sick day --once in a while and assuming that you're pulling your weight at work and have maybe put in some extra hours here and there. You've got a darned generous compensation package there: paid sick leave, some reimbursement for what you don't use, plus a PENSION, for cryin' out loud! That's a lot of milk from that teat...do you really need much more?

Also, as some have pointed out, a health issue could come up where you need to use a bunch of leave. Not that you'd necessarily use it all, but you never know. I had some 1200 hours banked, was rather proud of the good health that implied, and assumed I'd never use more than a few days of it. Then, bang, in a few years' time I used up nearly 12 weeks having a couple totally unexpected joint surgeries, caring for my boyfriend when he had a surgery, and caring for my sick mom --another unexpected event. I was really grateful to have that much PAID time off, not to mention the health insurance.

Let your conscious be your guide, and think of how you'll reflect on your past behavior when you're retired early and reaping such generous benefits.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 12:05:26 PM by o2bfree »

surfhb

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #59 on: October 20, 2017, 01:49:49 PM »
Whats even more unethical are workers who come in when they are sick.   I hate this!    Take your nasty virus and stay home idiot ;)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 01:52:02 PM by surfhb »

Eric

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3649
  • Location: On my bike
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #60 on: October 20, 2017, 02:52:16 PM »
Whats even more unethical are workers who come in when they are sick.   I hate this!    Take your nasty virus and stay home idiot ;)

I used to get people sick at my old job all the time.  I had a shitty 10 days of vacation time, and a sick day subtracted from that.  You're damn right I'm coming in if I can walk.  Don't want me coming in sick?  Make a better policy.

As such, I haven't called in sick since 2008.  Of course it just so happens that I haven't actually been sick in the last ~5 years.  Gotta love that child free lifestyle.  :)
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe."  -- Einstein

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 554
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #61 on: October 20, 2017, 03:48:41 PM »
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.

Depends on the position. I work a job where things have to happen at a specific time every day. If I'm not there to work the shift, someone else has to. This often includes holding someone else on overtime to cover for the person who is sick.   Nothing worse than being the person on shift at 6pm when the night shift calls in sick. You know you are pretty much screwed since you'll never find anyone to work it in the next 4 hours. Your 8 hour shift just became a 12 or 16 hour shift.

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1463
  • Location: High COL
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #62 on: October 20, 2017, 06:45:45 PM »
Start taking some "mental health days" - these are as acceptable as taking time off to go to the doctor for something.

My PTO (to be used for sick/vacation) only will roll over 5 days I think, maybe none (its been less than a year for me). So, I plan to use every last day of it.


anadyne

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #63 on: October 20, 2017, 07:06:12 PM »
Maybe the difference is that I've never worked in a job in which duties are shared to the extent that a single sick person changes the entire dynamics of everyone's day and productivity.

It isn't just about job duties being shared, in my experience. When you're responsible for products and systems that need to be up and running 24/7, and when certain people are point people for specific things in an organization, a team member being out affects the others in that they need to take on some of that work for the day to keep the ship running. Again, in my personal experience, that makes the people who call out sick NOT abuse that privilege, because they have to also ask their coworker to do XYZ for them. And in a good working relationship the coworker says of course they will do it and the sick person returns the favor next time. Same for being out for vacation.

Reading this board makes me think I've only worked in model work environments! I could NOT handle consistent slackers or people leaving early and sticking others with their work--that would have been completely unacceptable in my department, would prevent any promotions, would get that person managed out, etc. In my experience those types of people dig their own graves, so there isn't any point worrying about them...
 

So you equate people who take sick time with slacking? Interesting. My field is known for its long work hours (we work 15 hour days fairly often, 7 days/week for months at a stretch at times) and I don't know a single slacker, but we simply don't share work duties. We don't work in teams, except perhaps intellectual collaborations at times. We're promoted based on our individual performance, not group efforts. Taking sick days strategically is common, and the smart thing to do in our environment. I would say we work in a model work environment precisely because we don't depend on others for our performance, but are judged based on our own work. I can see how being part of a larger group with interdependencies would change the dynamic, since everyone shares work and effort. I've never worked in a job like that and I can see how it would be a benefit to share labor, but have the drawback of being dependent on others to do your job, hence caring about others' time off.

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2714
  • Location: Texas
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #64 on: October 20, 2017, 07:23:40 PM »
Ethically, I think it's ok to take an illegitimate sick day --once in a while and assuming that you're pulling your weight at work and have maybe put in some extra hours here and there. You've got a darned generous compensation package there: paid sick leave, some reimbursement for what you don't use, plus a PENSION, for cryin' out loud! That's a lot of milk from that teat...do you really need much more?

Where I work, the pension is balanced by ~10% of my salary getting put directly into the pension instead of my pocket, and having a salary significantly below the private sector.

The flexible work hours and reasonable leave time amounts (Good for the USA, not for Europe) are the main benefits.
Credit card signup bonuses:

$150 bonus on $500 spend for Chase Freedom:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/MU4TDQ1N3K

$50 bonus (no min spend, just use it once) plus double all cash back at the end of 1 year for Discover, including the initial $50:
https://refer.discover.com/s/37e3u

$500 bonus on $4,000 spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/Z8JIP66H7G

MM_MG

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 132
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #65 on: October 20, 2017, 11:36:21 PM »
If a "benefit" is offered by your employer you shouldn't feel guilty for taking advantage of it.  Personally I think the distinction between vacation and sick time is ridiculous. Plans like this are just another way to leverage more work from employees without having to pay for it.   

johndoe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #66 on: October 21, 2017, 06:48:47 AM »
Ethically, I think it's ok to take an illegitimate sick day
Surely something that is illegitimate is unethical.  So you just said "Ethically, I think it's ok to be unethical".

Count me as one of the "use it for real sickness only".  It's the right thing to do...for me it goes back to feeling loyalty/duty in a job.  If you dont feel your job is worthwhile why are you spending a huge portion of your life there?  I agree with the poster who said that everyone around the office starts to know who takes advantage of this perk and resentment grows.  Not great for a team.

Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Hula Hoop

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
  • Location: Europe
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #67 on: October 21, 2017, 06:50:45 AM »
I agree that using sick time for anything other than being home sick in unethical.  If you have to lie to your colleagues/employer and say "I'm sick today" then that's unethical.  If you could say to your employer "I'm taking a mental health day" then that's OK as it's not a lie.

Brother Esau

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: CT
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #68 on: October 21, 2017, 07:04:09 AM »
I just started a new job that accumulates 1 sick day per month worked. I won't use all of it each year but will use the majority. Zero guilt.

Wilson Hall

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 148
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #69 on: October 21, 2017, 09:19:34 AM »
I think it depends on your workplace.

I've worked at a few places that had the "if you are sick, stay home" policy.  You did not accrue sick time.  You had unlimited sick time, though if you got to over 25 days they'd start asking questions.  This was great because my first kid was born and I was sick as a dog that entire winter.  I was maybe healthy for 30 total days.  Yes, I still worked most of those days.  But I probably took at least 10 sick days.  As I'd been working plenty of unpaid OT for years before, zero guilt!

But then companies switched to PTO, which I hate.  Because people think that it's all vacation, and they don't want to take sick time.  So they come to work sick.

My husband gets separate sick leave, but in our state they have to pay it out when you leave.  If I worked at a place where I was awarded sick time, and it was use or lose, I'd use it - no question.  As long as it was a reasonable amount (5-7 days a year).  Where I have worked, sick time can be used for being sick, going to the doctor, or staying home with a sick kid.

Add me to the list of people who donít like PTO. At the last job where I had it, when I requested 2+ weeks for a vacation, the response was: ďThatís a lot of time. What if you get sick?Ē

I turned in my notice shortly thereafter.

Like many here, Iím in favor of using sick leave occasionally for mental health days and whatnot as long as thereís room in my schedule AND Iím not inconveniencing any of my colleagues. When I leave my current employer, Iíll only get a percentage of whatever sick leave balance I have, based on my number of years on the job.

In Slee Stackís defense, however, it can be a real pain to pick up othersí workload when theyíre out for dubious health conditions. My organization is having a hell of a time getting rid of an employee who, in addition to being out ďsickĒ about half the time, has a piss-poor work ethic while heís in the office and has even been insubordinate to our boss. Itís not good for the morale of everyone picking up his work, and the word around the grapevine is that HR is too afraid of a lawsuit by pushing him out.

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9508
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #70 on: October 21, 2017, 10:43:10 AM »
Ethically, I think it's ok to take an illegitimate sick day
Surely something that is illegitimate is unethical.  So you just said "Ethically, I think it's ok to be unethical".

Not quite.

It depends on your interpretation of the rule or law that legitimacy is derived from.

If you view a rule as wrong or flawed, breaking it is ethical.  For example, it was legitimate for Germans in WWII to send Jews to concentration camps.  Schindler broke this rule, but I suspect few would argue that he was acting unethically.

Obviously the same kind of clear cut argument cannot be made for taking sick leave. . . but let me take a stab at a potential argument:

If you believe that sick leave time is part of a benefit that you have negotiated for as work, and you will lose that benefit when you quit or retire then that's an unethical wrong being done to you by your employer.  If this is the case, then and argument can be made that it's not unethical to take full advantage of that benefit by pretending to be sick.

Catbert

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1263
  • Location: Southern California
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #71 on: October 21, 2017, 10:43:32 AM »
As a grumpy, retired HR manager count me among those that think you should only use sick leave when you're sick (or a family member is sick if that's how your system works). 

Think of sick leave as a form of insurance.  You save up those days in case sometime you get sick.  If you don't get sick then you don't need to use that "insurance".  No different than paying into state disability insurance for years and never using.  Or paying for home/rental insurance.  Most people don't feel screwed because they never became disabled or got burgled and left all that money on the table.


farfromfire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #72 on: October 21, 2017, 11:21:53 AM »
...it was legitimate for Germans in WWII to send Jews to concentration camps. 
I understand what you were trying to say, but this is a foolish way to say it.
Quote
Schindler broke this rule.
Wrong.

zinnie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 564
  • Location: California
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #73 on: October 21, 2017, 11:25:57 AM »
Maybe the difference is that I've never worked in a job in which duties are shared to the extent that a single sick person changes the entire dynamics of everyone's day and productivity.

It isn't just about job duties being shared, in my experience. When you're responsible for products and systems that need to be up and running 24/7, and when certain people are point people for specific things in an organization, a team member being out affects the others in that they need to take on some of that work for the day to keep the ship running. Again, in my personal experience, that makes the people who call out sick NOT abuse that privilege, because they have to also ask their coworker to do XYZ for them. And in a good working relationship the coworker says of course they will do it and the sick person returns the favor next time. Same for being out for vacation.

Reading this board makes me think I've only worked in model work environments! I could NOT handle consistent slackers or people leaving early and sticking others with their work--that would have been completely unacceptable in my department, would prevent any promotions, would get that person managed out, etc. In my experience those types of people dig their own graves, so there isn't any point worrying about them...
 

So you equate people who take sick time with slacking? Interesting. My field is known for its long work hours (we work 15 hour days fairly often, 7 days/week for months at a stretch at times) and I don't know a single slacker, but we simply don't share work duties. We don't work in teams, except perhaps intellectual collaborations at times. We're promoted based on our individual performance, not group efforts. Taking sick days strategically is common, and the smart thing to do in our environment. I would say we work in a model work environment precisely because we don't depend on others for our performance, but are judged based on our own work. I can see how being part of a larger group with interdependencies would change the dynamic, since everyone shares work and effort. I've never worked in a job like that and I can see how it would be a benefit to share labor, but have the drawback of being dependent on others to do your job, hence caring about others' time off.

I didn't mean to say that people who take sick time are slackers at all! If you're sick, use it. Absolutely. When I found people acting sick at work and trying to power through the day I always told them to go home. I was referring to another poster who was talking about others taking off early and resenting being stuck with their work. Sorry, should have quoted or something.

What area are you in where there are no interdependencies? Of course people are only judged based on their own performance, but how can a company operate when what one person does don't affect anyone else? I'm not trying to be obtuse, I'm just curious what context this is in. I guess I could imagine this in a place where each person has their own clients and doesn't touch anyone else's--like a lawyer/psychiatrist/doctor, etc.

My experience is in developing and producing digital textbooks. Books have specific publication dates that need to be hit because classes are starting, so if someone is out others step in to keep the timeline on track. And when you are responsible for student-facing websites and apps, those of course always need to be up and running and any issues need to be fixed right away. 

I can see why working more independently could be preferable as well. I always enjoyed the team environment--where people have their own responsibilities and areas of focus but are also willing to help each other out and are working towards the same goal. It helps the sick people or those on vacation completely leave work at work and not think about it while they are gone, too! I guess I could see a lot of situations where this wouldn't be optimal, though :)

ozmickey

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #74 on: October 21, 2017, 12:03:12 PM »
I think if I had over 1000 hours of sick time, I would be using it for doctor/dentist/mental health days.

Let me tell you my back story. I worked for old company, it was sold to new corporation. After six months, I was retrenched.

Legally, they didn't have to pay me out (in Australia) BUT I am still resentful over losing over three hundred hours of sick time. I feel that they stole the money from me.

I have decided that I will never allow my sick time get so high again. If I am not ill, I will legitimately use the time for a mental health day or a preventive doctor appointment.


lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 789
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #75 on: October 21, 2017, 12:07:17 PM »
I'm with you. No idea why anyone would feel bad about taking what is given to them. My little woman takes everyone of hers. There is a lady at the museum that rarely uses any of her sick days.... crazy. If I had a job I'd be sick every day so I'd quickly run out of sick days. lol

I agree!!! I'm shocked at all the responses mentioning guilt or to not use it. You earn that sick time, you are free to use it as necessary. I take mental health days fairly frequently but I still have a bunch of sick time. :( I am probably going to leave this job within the next year and annoyingly, CA law says that employers are not legally obligated to pay out remaining sick time (unlike vacation or generic PTO). I'm a bit stuck because I can't work from home and I can't miss every other work day... le sigh.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 12:10:34 PM by lbmustache »

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2714
  • Location: Texas
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #76 on: October 21, 2017, 12:09:25 PM »
If you dont feel your job is worthwhile why are you spending a huge portion of your life there?

Money. Health insurance.

Though I do think my job is worthwhile.
Credit card signup bonuses:

$150 bonus on $500 spend for Chase Freedom:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/MU4TDQ1N3K

$50 bonus (no min spend, just use it once) plus double all cash back at the end of 1 year for Discover, including the initial $50:
https://refer.discover.com/s/37e3u

$500 bonus on $4,000 spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/Z8JIP66H7G

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2714
  • Location: Texas
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #77 on: October 21, 2017, 12:13:51 PM »
I'm with you. No idea why anyone would feel bad about taking what is given to them. My little woman takes everyone of hers. There is a lady at the museum that rarely uses any of her sick days.... crazy. If I had a job I'd be sick every day so I'd quickly run out of sick days. lol

I agree!!! I'm shocked at all the responses mentioning guilt or to not use it. You earn that sick time, you are free to use it as necessary. I take mental health days fairly frequently but I still have a bunch of sick time. :( I am probably going to leave this job within the next year and annoyingly, CA law says that sick leave cannot be paid out (unlike vacation or generic PTO). I'm a bit stuck because I can't work from home and I can't miss every other work day... le sigh.

Got any nagging physical issues? Back pain? Stiff neck? Incipient carpal tunnel?

Get a referral, and go through physical therapy to get it resolved. Go to every session allowed, probably 2x per week. For my insurance anyway, they tend to authorize a conservative number of days (perhaps 6-8) and then when you hit the end without being totally rehabbed, they extend you an additional 3-4 days. Then if you hit the end without resolution, they issue another couple of days.

FAR too many people neglect these chronic physical issues, and it is a legitimate use of sick time.
Credit card signup bonuses:

$150 bonus on $500 spend for Chase Freedom:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/MU4TDQ1N3K

$50 bonus (no min spend, just use it once) plus double all cash back at the end of 1 year for Discover, including the initial $50:
https://refer.discover.com/s/37e3u

$500 bonus on $4,000 spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/Z8JIP66H7G

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 789
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #78 on: October 21, 2017, 12:19:16 PM »
Ethically, I think it's ok to take an illegitimate sick day
Surely something that is illegitimate is unethical.  So you just said "Ethically, I think it's ok to be unethical".

Count me as one of the "use it for real sickness only".  It's the right thing to do...for me it goes back to feeling loyalty/duty in a job.  If you dont feel your job is worthwhile why are you spending a huge portion of your life there?  I agree with the poster who said that everyone around the office starts to know who takes advantage of this perk and resentment grows.  Not great for a team.

Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Your example makes zero sense. A bicycle for yourself is not a "company expense." A company credit card is not your money that you have earned. Your sick time is what you earned for yourself to use. Unless the company treats you like a college student, where you need to provide a doctor's note for your "absence," I really don't think they have any say in what constitutes a sick day for yourself. "Real sickness" is such a broad term... is bad anxiety real sickness? A common cold? The flu? A headache? Who decides?

Loyalty/duty towards your job is fine, but as plenty of stories over time show, companies will do what is beneficial for them. Been there for 20 years? Showed up every day, even through that terrible flu and that family death? Cool, you've been laid off for XY and Z reason.

This kind of mentality is what leads to people being overworked and miserable at their jobs, and just reinforces the thinking behind not taking vacation days. You have earned that time.

Taking the occasional day off is not "lazy" and does not throw the company into disarray. Some of you may be overthinking your importance to your company. Almost everyone is replaceable.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 789
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #79 on: October 21, 2017, 12:20:36 PM »
I'm with you. No idea why anyone would feel bad about taking what is given to them. My little woman takes everyone of hers. There is a lady at the museum that rarely uses any of her sick days.... crazy. If I had a job I'd be sick every day so I'd quickly run out of sick days. lol

I agree!!! I'm shocked at all the responses mentioning guilt or to not use it. You earn that sick time, you are free to use it as necessary. I take mental health days fairly frequently but I still have a bunch of sick time. :( I am probably going to leave this job within the next year and annoyingly, CA law says that sick leave cannot be paid out (unlike vacation or generic PTO). I'm a bit stuck because I can't work from home and I can't miss every other work day... le sigh.

Got any nagging physical issues? Back pain? Stiff neck? Incipient carpal tunnel?

Get a referral, and go through physical therapy to get it resolved. Go to every session allowed, probably 2x per week. For my insurance anyway, they tend to authorize a conservative number of days (perhaps 6-8) and then when you hit the end without being totally rehabbed, they extend you an additional 3-4 days. Then if you hit the end without resolution, they issue another couple of days.

FAR too many people neglect these chronic physical issues, and it is a legitimate use of sick time.

I do actually have a constant neck issue! However, I am a college professor... I would have to get a long-term sub as I can't leave my class hanging for weeks at a time :P

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2714
  • Location: Texas
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #80 on: October 21, 2017, 12:32:47 PM »
I'm with you. No idea why anyone would feel bad about taking what is given to them. My little woman takes everyone of hers. There is a lady at the museum that rarely uses any of her sick days.... crazy. If I had a job I'd be sick every day so I'd quickly run out of sick days. lol

I agree!!! I'm shocked at all the responses mentioning guilt or to not use it. You earn that sick time, you are free to use it as necessary. I take mental health days fairly frequently but I still have a bunch of sick time. :( I am probably going to leave this job within the next year and annoyingly, CA law says that sick leave cannot be paid out (unlike vacation or generic PTO). I'm a bit stuck because I can't work from home and I can't miss every other work day... le sigh.

Got any nagging physical issues? Back pain? Stiff neck? Incipient carpal tunnel?

Get a referral, and go through physical therapy to get it resolved. Go to every session allowed, probably 2x per week. For my insurance anyway, they tend to authorize a conservative number of days (perhaps 6-8) and then when you hit the end without being totally rehabbed, they extend you an additional 3-4 days. Then if you hit the end without resolution, they issue another couple of days.

FAR too many people neglect these chronic physical issues, and it is a legitimate use of sick time.

I do actually have a constant neck issue! However, I am a college professor... I would have to get a long-term sub as I can't leave my class hanging for weeks at a time :P

You are sacrificing your physical wellbeing for a job, even though you have a massive amount of sick leave banked to take care of it. Health insurance and time to get healthy is part of the package your employer offered you when you took that job.

Ridiculous to ignore it. 

Don't be a martyr to the job. Make them get a sub. You have a legitimate health issue impacting your quality of life, and it needs to be dealt with. Ignoring these things makes them harder (or even impossible) to deal with later.
Credit card signup bonuses:

$150 bonus on $500 spend for Chase Freedom:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/MU4TDQ1N3K

$50 bonus (no min spend, just use it once) plus double all cash back at the end of 1 year for Discover, including the initial $50:
https://refer.discover.com/s/37e3u

$500 bonus on $4,000 spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/Z8JIP66H7G

johndoe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #81 on: October 21, 2017, 02:12:02 PM »
Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Your example makes zero sense. A bicycle for yourself is not a "company expense." A company credit card is not your money that you have earned. Your sick time is what you earned for yourself to use.

That's my point.  Both sick leave and a company credit card are benefits given to employees for certain situations.  You are "given" something, and you are expected to use that resource based on the policy they set forth.  If you disregard the policy you are acting unethically.

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2714
  • Location: Texas
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #82 on: October 21, 2017, 03:31:14 PM »
Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Your example makes zero sense. A bicycle for yourself is not a "company expense." A company credit card is not your money that you have earned. Your sick time is what you earned for yourself to use.

That's my point.  Both sick leave and a company credit card are benefits given to employees for certain situations.  You are "given" something, and you are expected to use that resource based on the policy they set forth.  If you disregard the policy you are acting unethically.

I don't see how a company credit card is a benefit to me personally. I actively avoid getting one.
Credit card signup bonuses:

$150 bonus on $500 spend for Chase Freedom:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/MU4TDQ1N3K

$50 bonus (no min spend, just use it once) plus double all cash back at the end of 1 year for Discover, including the initial $50:
https://refer.discover.com/s/37e3u

$500 bonus on $4,000 spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/Z8JIP66H7G

johndoe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #83 on: October 21, 2017, 03:48:35 PM »
Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Your example makes zero sense. A bicycle for yourself is not a "company expense." A company credit card is not your money that you have earned. Your sick time is what you earned for yourself to use.

That's my point.  Both sick leave and a company credit card are benefits given to employees for certain situations.  You are "given" something, and you are expected to use that resource based on the policy they set forth.  If you disregard the policy you are acting unethically.

I don't see how a company credit card is a benefit to me personally. I actively avoid getting one.
...alright how about a company car?  Let's say the policy is the car is only meant to be driven for work purposes.  In my opinion abusing sick leave would be similar to driving the car for non-work purposes.

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1358
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #84 on: October 21, 2017, 04:10:47 PM »
I left a lot of sick days in my bank before I left my company because it is wrong to take them if I wasn't sick.

dreaming

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Age: 44
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #85 on: October 21, 2017, 04:14:39 PM »
Before my company switched to PTO, we had sick and vacation days.  I didn't use the sick days very often so they accumulated.  I ended up using some of them and said I was taking a mental health day.  My boss was fine with that.

lbmustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 789
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #86 on: October 21, 2017, 05:31:23 PM »
Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Your example makes zero sense. A bicycle for yourself is not a "company expense." A company credit card is not your money that you have earned. Your sick time is what you earned for yourself to use.

That's my point.  Both sick leave and a company credit card are benefits given to employees for certain situations.  You are "given" something, and you are expected to use that resource based on the policy they set forth.  If you disregard the policy you are acting unethically.

I don't see how a company credit card is a benefit to me personally. I actively avoid getting one.
...alright how about a company car?  Let's say the policy is the car is only meant to be driven for work purposes.  In my opinion abusing sick leave would be similar to driving the car for non-work purposes.

What exactly is the difference between using a sick day if you are not sick, and using a vacation day to stay home if you are sick? The vacation day could be construed as "abusing" the policy, because that is designated as a vacation, correct? Is staying home sick a vacation?

johndoe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #87 on: October 21, 2017, 08:27:21 PM »
Let's say your company gave you a credit card for company expenses.  Would some of you justify buying a new bicycle for yourself? After all, it's "your" benefit.

Your example makes zero sense. A bicycle for yourself is not a "company expense." A company credit card is not your money that you have earned. Your sick time is what you earned for yourself to use.

That's my point.  Both sick leave and a company credit card are benefits given to employees for certain situations.  You are "given" something, and you are expected to use that resource based on the policy they set forth.  If you disregard the policy you are acting unethically.

I don't see how a company credit card is a benefit to me personally. I actively avoid getting one.
...alright how about a company car?  Let's say the policy is the car is only meant to be driven for work purposes.  In my opinion abusing sick leave would be similar to driving the car for non-work purposes.

What exactly is the difference between using a sick day if you are not sick, and using a vacation day to stay home if you are sick? The vacation day could be construed as "abusing" the policy, because that is designated as a vacation, correct? Is staying home sick a vacation?

LOL seriously?  You honestly don't think that vacation can be used for everything?

Kepler

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #88 on: October 21, 2017, 08:35:11 PM »
I have worked with my current employer for a long time, sick day allocations are generous, and they roll over.  The only "medical" issues I have had have been associated with maternity leave, and those come out of a different bucket - weirdly, I wasn't allowed to claim sick leave while on maternity leave, even though a chunk of my maternity leave was unpaid and the extra would have been useful, but new sick leave entitlements just kept accruing the whole time I was away, because maternity leave counts as "service".  I have over 140 days accrued...

I am currently looking at other jobs.  If I move within the sector, some institutions will let you transfer the whole balance, most cap the transferred balance at 30-40 days, and some won't transfer it at all.  It is not paid out, so if I don't use it, and I can't transfer it, it's just gone.

I have watched lots of people mysterious take extended periods of sick leave - often in the form of 'stress leave' - and then, when that was used up, pop up at another institution.  In fact, it's more common to do that not, and I would infer that people already have the other job in hand before they go on 'stress leave', and use the sick leave benefit for a bit of a break between two positions (in my field, it's not unusual to get a job offer several months before the job actually starts - and it's also common to be able to negotiate a later start, even if the job could potentially start immediately: jobs are often filled with people from other states or other countries, so delayed starts are sort of a built-in assumption of the process).  My workplace /is/ stressful in various ways, but nevertheless it's so clear that this is what people are doing, that I'm unsure how they are getting doctors to sign off on it.  We have to provide a certificate to take more than three days, and some people are taking sick leave for six months: how much interaction with a doctor are they having to take, to get signed off for that long? 

At the moment, I'm in a weird position where, for the first time, I actually /have/ been significantly ill this year.  I was injured in July, sort of blew it off for a couple weeks, made the injury much much worse, and then was in really serious, work-disrupting, pain for a couple weeks, and follow-up medical care involves medical appointments once or twice a week - and, although things have suddenly gotten much better so maybe the end is in sight, the current medical advice is that appointments will probably continue for at least another six months, and possibly longer.  Now, I work from home most of the time and, except for the two-week period when things were really bad, I basically just sit in waiting rooms, answering emails on my phone, in a way that's more or less indistinguishable from my sitting at my desk at home answering emails...  Even during the two week really bad bit, I still did essential work from home, including some phone meetings, but I did have to cancel or ask other people to cover some things for which I would normally go into the office. 

Still: I put in a sick leave claim for the two-week period, and would be happy to put in a claim for the days I'm hanging out in medical waiting rooms.  However, my manage rejects the claims.  Not in the sense that he's denying me permission to stay home from work.  He just keeps going, "Keep your sick leave for when you really need it".  When I've pressed him on this, he says that sick leave is "all or nothing" - that I can't take sick leave while still being available on email, etc.  I do understand this, and certainly I think it can be important if someone is more seriously ill than I have been, that they don't feel pressure to reply to work emails.  From my point of view, however, my life is easier if I can spend a bit of time keeping things ticking along - it would be a much bigger mess if I were just to have suddenly become totally unavailable, even for things I could still do around illness.  I've offered to pro-rate the sick leave claims somehow - to say that, on X dates, I was only available for Y hours - but I've been told that "HR don't like that": that you are either sick, or well, for day-long chunks.  I've also offered to tally up the hours I've been ill, and put in a claim for day-equivalent sick time.  This gets us back to "Keep your sick leave for when you really need it."

So basically: I haven't been allowed to take sick leave while on mat leave (but took unpaid leave instead).  And I haven't been allowed to take sick leave while sick (but was paid as if I'd been at work normally).  I feel guilty about somehow convincing a doctor to sign me off for 140+ days on the grounds of "stress" - but I also feel a bit like I'm leaving benefits on the table.  I'm happy to walk away and lose the days I think I "ought" to have taken sick leave anyway - I feel like my manager is being weird rejecting those claims - but the balance is so huge at this point that, even if I write those days off, we're still talking months of accrued benefit.  I'm not sure how people would react if I tried to take two days a week over an extended period - there is a murky provision that allows HR to check fitness for work if there are a lot of short absences for illness, and I've never seen anyone burn their sick leave that way here, which suggests they might actually be serious about pursuing it. 

I also have an excess of /other/ kinds of leave - just "won" a paid sabbatical, and then I have months of annual leave to take - so I can't realistically do much about the massive sick leave accrual in the short term.  But this means it'll just keep growing...  We do have ageing parents elsewhere in the world, and some of me has been wondering about using up some of this balance as 'carer' leave to travel overseas to spend some time with them but, while they are certainly getting to the point that they could use some help periodically, there's nothing dramatic or acute that absolutely requires us to do this, so I wouldn't know how you'd get a doctor to evidence it. 

Erica

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 406
  • Location: Sierra County California
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #89 on: October 21, 2017, 10:47:27 PM »
I'm a Christian and this wouldn't bother me in the least
I think the guilt is misplaced.

Sick leave is earned. You just say you are "under the weather"

How do you know when you are tired, you are not slightly sick?

In fact, you probably are. Something is going awry when you feel stressed or under the weather

Freely use what you earned

I am glad we have Paid Time off only- PTO

All of us encourage each other to take theirs by covering for one another

Although no one really wants to cover the other

We are overworked and into Overtime already so boss lets us get paid for the time by switching shifts

And if we are sick, that is the only time it is mentioned

Otherwise we don't ask one another about the reasons for missed days

All of us are private people so that probably helps

.


« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 10:54:41 PM by Erica »

anadyne

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #90 on: October 22, 2017, 06:09:02 AM »
Huh, at our work we simply say to the admin assistant "Hi Grace, please record Tuesday and Wednesday as PSL [paid sick leave] for me, thanks" - no need to lie, no need to fake illness, no need to describe mucous coming out of your body, no need to detail mental health, stress, injury - health is a private issue. Sick leave is just accounting. "I am taking 16 hours of PSL this week on X and Y days" The rest of the paid hours come out of the other salary pool. Done.

BudgetSlasher

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 366
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #91 on: October 22, 2017, 08:28:52 AM »
Huh, at our work we simply say to the admin assistant "Hi Grace, please record Tuesday and Wednesday as PSL [paid sick leave] for me, thanks" - no need to lie, no need to fake illness, no need to describe mucous coming out of your body, no need to detail mental health, stress, injury - health is a private issue. Sick leave is just accounting. "I am taking 16 hours of PSL this week on X and Y days" The rest of the paid hours come out of the other salary pool. Done.

At my employer, all you have to say is that you will be out sick and management cannot ask any details. There is an exception if you are out a certain number of consecutive days they may ask for a doctor's note, but again all it has to say is that you are sick without any details. At, this employer I have never seen the ability to ask invoked and I suspect it would only be used if clear abuse was suspected.

A prior employer had a similar policy and I only saw it used once. It was when abuse was suspected and they ultimately where not allowed to use it because X consecutive days out meant entire days and the employee came in on the morning of the last day for an hour before going home. But, the employees behavior made it pretty clear to most that they were not sick. In addition others were required to cover the absent employee's workload any prior notice, unlike vacation which normally required prior approval.

So long as an unannounced day off does not require someone to pickup your workload unexpectedly I don't care if co-worker takes a random personal day, sick day, compensation time  or even if they were allowed to take vacation without the normal prior approval (and yes those are all different classes of time off that different position may have). In fact I currently have a co-worker who I am fairly certain does just that with their sick time, but no deadlines have been missed and no work has been urgently shifted to other employees (ah the myth of the 40-hour work week for some).

Where I am now the younger crowd often sits on sick time as a de facto short-term disability; we can accrue approximately 1,000 hours of sick time on the books (beyond that it is called lapse sick and is allowed with management, as opposed to freely, mostly more catastrophic medical issues, often followed by a leave bank for donations). Where as those approaching retirement realize that they only get credit/cashed out for somewhere around 700 hours and will often lower their threshold for sick. With accrual rate and a 3-year period to retirement that works out to about 2 days a month.

As far as I am concerned regarding the ethics of taking sick time when not really "sick". So long as you are fully meeting our exceeding the expectations of your position and are not unfairly requiring other people to do your work when you are off for a day, I see no harm. In fact if you can meet or exceed expectations I see it, ethically, on the same level are requiring a 40-hour work week (from what I assume is a salaried position) when 40 hours of work is not required to meet the demands of the job.

As an aside, I would much rather have co-workers how take burn their sick time as they want or that lower what qualifies as sick, than work with a bunch of people who tough it up and come in sick because they have to get something accomplished or don't think they are sick enough. More often then not, in my experiences, they wind up getting sicker and having to take sick time anyways (but hey, at least we all know they weren't faking it). Meanwhile what could have been one employee out sick turns into 3 or 4 more infected; the last time this happened I was one of the first of the wave infected at work and by the time I came back to work a full 50 percent of our unit was out sick.

dreams_and_discoveries

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 799
  • Location: London, UK
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #92 on: October 22, 2017, 08:42:39 AM »
Wow- it seems like a huge difference in culture across the pond, here in the UK sick leave is for when you are actually too ill to come in and do your job, and employers routinely ask for sicknotes after a week.  Most employers have sickness management policies, to reduce sickness, make any adjustments needed and keep productivity high. However, we generally get good sick leave - it's common for employers to have offerings such as six months full pay, then six months half pay.

MrThatsDifferent

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #93 on: October 22, 2017, 08:43:44 AM »
I used 2 legitimate days of sick leave for the first time, when I was actually knocked out by the flu. I was away from work for 5 days in total but used the other day as work from home. Typically any time Iím stressed or a bit run down and not feeling well, I just work from home and get everything done without having anyone coming into my office. But those 2 days I couldnít keep my head up and looking at screens hurt so I literally did nothing for work.

Iíve seen my younger staff claim sick days a lot and I wonder how many of them are weekend induced?

Brother Esau

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Location: CT
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #94 on: October 22, 2017, 09:44:22 AM »
Huh, at our work we simply say to the admin assistant "Hi Grace, please record Tuesday and Wednesday as PSL [paid sick leave] for me, thanks" - no need to lie, no need to fake illness, no need to describe mucous coming out of your body, no need to detail mental health, stress, injury - health is a private issue. Sick leave is just accounting. "I am taking 16 hours of PSL this week on X and Y days" The rest of the paid hours come out of the other salary pool. Done.

Pretty much as simple as this.

RedmondStash

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 632
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #95 on: October 22, 2017, 10:01:41 AM »
Wow- it seems like a huge difference in culture across the pond, here in the UK sick leave is for when you are actually too ill to come in and do your job, and employers routinely ask for sicknotes after a week.

That's largely true in the U.S. too, except our policies tend to be stingier. Remember that on this board, there are a lot of people who ruthlessly optimize and game their lives in order to reach FIRE. This isn't a criticism; so much of the deck is stacked against employees that I applaud people who commit to taking care of themselves, because the companies they work for surely won't, and take advantage of their employees in any way they can.

Twenty years ago, vacation and sick leave for new jobs typically started at two weeks each per year, for four weeks total. In my current job, I started out at three weeks of combined PTO. I rarely take sick leave; if I'm unwell, I more often spend part of the day working from home, as much as I can, and then take the rest of the day as PTO. (I know that's not an option for everyone.) But at my job, no one else has to do my work if I'm not there. It just waits for me.

Most companies I've worked for have a policy wherein if you take 3 or more consecutive days of sick leave, they ask for a doctor's note. That's been true for decades.

I do think there's more pressure in the U.S. to perform, produce, improve, become more efficient -- to the point at which people are scared to take sick leave because they might get fired in favor of someone new, eager, and cheaper. You know you're just a replaceable cog in a machine. Plenty of people at my current job come in when they're sick, and thus infect others, partly because they don't want to spend what could otherwise be vacation time.

Anon in Alaska

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #96 on: October 22, 2017, 10:02:56 AM »
Can you come in half an hour later, leave half an hour earlier, and take an hours sick leave every day?

"Homines est! Dici omnes! Soylens viridis HOMINES EST!"

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2714
  • Location: Texas
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #97 on: October 22, 2017, 12:05:45 PM »
Wow- it seems like a huge difference in culture across the pond, here in the UK sick leave is for when you are actually too ill to come in and do your job, and employers routinely ask for sicknotes after a week.  Most employers have sickness management policies, to reduce sickness, make any adjustments needed and keep productivity high. However, we generally get good sick leave - it's common for employers to have offerings such as six months full pay, then six months half pay.

If the leave policies in the USA weren't so stingy, I think that there would be a lot less pressure to try and "use up" sick leave.

A typical UK worker gets roughly 3x as much vacation leave as a typical US worker.  There is often a lot of pressure on the US worker to not even use the stingy vacation time they do get.

Combine those two, and there's a lot of incentive to take the occasional "sick day" off due to stress.

Where I work, on the 3rd consecutive day where any sick leave is recorded (even just an hour) - I need a doctor's note. So, if you go home an hour early Tuesday because you're feeling poorly, you better be OK by Thursday's start time, or you have to go to the doc for documentation, even if it's a total waste of everyone's time and money.
Credit card signup bonuses:

$150 bonus on $500 spend for Chase Freedom:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/MU4TDQ1N3K

$50 bonus (no min spend, just use it once) plus double all cash back at the end of 1 year for Discover, including the initial $50:
https://refer.discover.com/s/37e3u

$500 bonus on $4,000 spend for Chase Sapphire Preferred:
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/Z8JIP66H7G

libertarian4321

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1212
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #98 on: October 22, 2017, 12:17:23 PM »
I guess it comes down to how you define "sick."

We all know the workaholic types who drag themselves into work, coughing, blowing snot and spreading disease to the rest of the staff, thinking they are being noble because they are not "really sick."

Others will take sick days at the drop of a hat.  For diseases like "Spring Fever" or "Mental Health Days" or "I'm taking my dog to the vet."

My wife is in the first group.  When (if?) she ever lets go of her job, she'll retire with hundreds of days of available sick leave, and get NOTHING for them.  She'd have to be incapacitated to actually take a sick day.

I'm probably a lot closer to the second.  If I have a bad case of gas and a few sick days accrued, I'll take the day off.  That way, I don't end up just tossing away the benefit, and my co-workers don't have to deal with the fallout from the 4-bean burritos I ate the night before.  It works out better for everyone. :)

If I could get some money for them, I'd just let them accrue and take the cash.  But if it's a "use or lose" thing, I say burn the sick leave.


GetItRight

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
Re: The Ethics of Taking Sick Leave
« Reply #99 on: October 22, 2017, 01:23:10 PM »
All this talk of "think of what you're doing to your coworkers" is silly. Think of what you're doing to them when you take vacation, same thing. If the company is so short staffed that taking a Monday or Friday off is that big a deal, then they get what they get. It's a sign of poor management, let the symptoms of understaffing and no cross-training show and they will be resolved if the company cares or it affects anything that's actually important.

That being said, my employer gives two pools. PTO and vacation. PTO is one week a year for everyone and does not carry over. Vacation you can accrue to a limit. So PTO is use it or lose it. They're not sick days explicitly. Need to take half a day for a doctor or to deal with something personal, use PTO. Personally I use all my PTO for vacation before using vacation days. It's part of my compensation, I will use it.

Granted I have a day or two of PTO left plus a bunch of vacation and wasn't feeling well a couple weeks ago, but did not take any time off. My colleague was out and I was bad enough I'd have liked to take a day or two that week but it wasn't practical for staffing reasons as well as my schedule was pretty full with meetings all week that I really couldn't put off. It just didn't make sense to take a "sick day", so I went in sick and worked 10-12 hours every day that week. I'll take those two "sick days" later when it's practical to do so, and use them for something that's easier to do during the day or for something fun. It's give and take, if you do the needful when required don't feel bad about taking time when it's practical to do so. if your employer has a problem with this is sounds like a bad work environment, start looking if you're not close to FIRE.