Your Take 

Your Take: Sick Day Shenanigans?

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SickThe other day, I was reading a Business Week article about companies hiring sick-day bounty hunters to check up on people out on sick leave and it gave me the idea for today’s Your Take question:

How many of you have taken sick days when you weren’t actually sick?

According to statistics in the article, “57 percent of U.S. salaried employees take sick days when they’re not really sick—a nearly 20 percent increase from statistics gathered between 2006 and 2008.” I haven’t taken a illegitimate sick day in the last three years (I work for myself so it’s hardly a feat) but in all my time at previous employers, I think I’ve only ever taken four or five sick days total. I can only remember one of them being illegitimate because I wanted to add another day to a weekend.

Now that I’m older, I don’t think it’s OK to lie and tell your employer that you’re sick when you’re not actually sick. With many employers your sick time and vacation time are rolled into one number, sometimes called PTO (paid time off), so it doesn’t matter whether you’re actually sick or not. In the end, you should be rewarded for performance and if you’re able to perform then it doesn’t really matter how much time you actually spend in the office.

Have you ever lied about being sick to skip out on a day?

(Photo: tudor)

{ 37 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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37 Responses to “Your Take: Sick Day Shenanigans?”

  1. Steve W. says:

    On the contrary, where I work, people more often come to work when they should stay home and keep their coughs and germs to themselves.
    We get PTO hours in fixed amounts per pay period, accumulating with a cap at 400 banked hours. If you have more than 400 hours in your bank at year-end, they cut you a “bonus” pay check for the overage hours to get you back to 400.
    We also have two opportunities a year to sell back unwanted PTO hours, although they are hit with a 6% penalty when you sell them back.
    This “cash for PTO” environment apparently encourages people to not take off sick, and some even avoid vacations, just to get the extra pay.

  2. Stella says:

    My current employer lumps all PTO (paid time off) into one pool (except for holidays and floating holidays), so you can take time off if you’re sick, on vacation, going to a doctor’s appointment, need a mental health day. Plus we can work from home if we so desire–which means even if you’re not feeling well, you can be semi-productive if you’re up for it…

    Prior to that I worked for a government agency with pre-defined pools for sick leave, vacation leave, comp time, etc. I almost never took sick leave and would often drag myself into the office when I was at death’s door. Then I found out my supervisor, who was often out for migraines and other illnesses, was actually taking “mental health days.”

    That changed my attitude towards leave and I started using sick leave on a more regular basis.

  3. Liam M says:

    The company I work for is pretty laid back, and while our “Sick” and “Vacation” times are separate they will let you use it whenever. Even if you want a few hours of pay added to your paycheck, assuming you are hourly and not a salaried employee.


  4. saladdin says:

    And jeez, if you are burning a sick day just to recoup mentally don’t post on faceybook where everyone can see it.

    What is sad to me is that at the end of the year the bragging I hear about “I didn’t get to use all my vacation/sick time this year because I was sooo busy.” No you weren’t unless you are a doctor or ninja assassin. You are bragging about coming in sick when you shouldn’t have and missing valuable time off with your family. Awesome on your part.


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