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Sick leave - how much?


Spryte
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Curious how much sick leave most of your working family members have?

 

DH is faced with a dilemma. His co has never limited paid sick leave, and no one's taken advantage of that. He has a current employee, though, who calls in sick fairly often. Only for one day at a time, we're not talking weeks off to recover from serious illness. 10 days in 10 months.

 

DH went in today, with the intention of talking to employee, just to get a feel for things... But... Can you guess? Employee called in sick. :) now it's up to 11 days in 10 months.

 

What's standard? What's excessive?

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DH's company doesn't distinguish between vacation days and sick days.  They simply have "paid time off" and how much an employee has depends on how long they've been with the company.  I think DH has about six weeks/30 days of PTO.  He's been with the company for almost 20 years.

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I get about 10 days per year. 

 

We have a system for tracking attendance as my employer expects at least 96% attendance. A sick day counts as an unscheduled absence. I am allowed 6 unscheduled absences in a 12 month period. If I go over, then it triggers performance management meetings (disciplinary action).

 

Let me know if you want to see our policy on it.

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At my last FT job I got 10 days sick and 21-28 days vacation (three weeks when first hired, 4 weeks after a certain length of employment). That said, in my state people are allowed to use their vacation pay for unscheduled time off for their own illness or the illness of someone in need of their care (a spouse or child).

 

At my husband's work all vacation, holiday and sick time is in one PTO account for each worker. They do that because of course, as a hospital they don't close on holidays. That said, no one appears to call out on an unscheduled basis unless it quite serious.

 

10 days (2 work weeks) or 12 days (accruing 1 day a month to make it easy) seems common for places that have separate vacation and sick days. Most places I've worked with seem to let you carry them forwards to a max of maybe 30 days.

 

I don't know if it is the quantity of the days that your DHs employee has called out but the frequency and inconsistency. I bet your husband wouldn't be feeling this way if the employee had been out a week for surgery and then another week because of the flu. Without a policy in place, the conversation is tricky. It is possible that he has a chronic health condition or something.

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Yes, DH is thinking there's a chronic condition, best case, and he wants to be supportive. It would be easy if these were longer absences, with a clear cause. But the way it's going, it's hard to tell if it's a health issue or something else.

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He has a current employee, though, who calls in sick fairly often. Only for one day at a time, we're not talking weeks off to recover from serious illness. 10 days in 10 months.

 

Does the employee get paid time off for medical?  I had two ex-classmates who needs to visit the doctor once a month because of long term illnesses (one has leukemia the other has kidney issues)

 

I had 5 days sick leave while working but epidemics are not counted.  So if there is a severe flu or HFMD epidemic in the area, no one would be force to use vacation leave for flu.

 

I think hubby has 10 days of sick leave but trips to doctors and dentists by family are not counted. When he had strep throat, he worked from home for a week and it wasn't counted as sick leave since he was working from home.  He had also called in sick for flu but had just worked from home. So it wasn't counted as sick leave either.

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12 paid sick days in the 9 month public school year, plus two personal days that could used for sick days if needed. This includes illness, doctor apts, sick days for immediate family.

 

Unused sick days could accumulate up to 180, and could be used in any future year. Upon retirement, anyone with 180 days or more accumulated has one year credited towards a year of service.

 

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Yes, it's paid time off.

 

Unfortunately, the CFO is looking at this and thinking a policy will need to be put in place.

 

So the pondering continues.

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences. DH will aim for a generous policy, if that's what needs to happen.

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When I worked, depending on seniority, I accrued about 1 day off per two week pay period, and that was for both sick and vacation time.  Does it average out to about one day per month?  Has the employee been with the company for only those 10 months, or have they been around longer?  I personally wouldn't view once a month as excessive, especially if they have some sort of moderate chronic illness or if they were taking sick time to take care of sick kids.

 

I'm sure your husband already knows this, but I'd be cautious about broaching the subject.  When I was caring for my grandma, between doctor's appointments and everything else, I'm sure I averaged at least one day a month off, though I did give prior notice as soon as I could.  At the time, I didn't want anyone at work knowing that I basically had a dependent at home as the team culture was not very supportive of that.

 

 

 
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5 days paid

 

If it needs to be longer then there is short term disability.  If longer still they have long term disability.

 

They allow one to use sick time for Dr. visits and personal time too.  DH has to be on his death bed because if he is just feeling a bit under the weather he can work from home if he wants.

 

 

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We get 7 hours of sick pay for each month if you work full time.  If you work part time, you get an amount that is directly proportionate to that number. It is a bit over 2 weeks paid leave and used to accrue without

 

It is separate from other types of leave like Vacation Leave or STD/LTD. 

 

 

We can use sick leave for an appointment or being ill.  Our employer doesn't limit its use and no one is allowed to ask for a doctors note or to ask why the person needed the leave.

 

If you husband is going to talk to the employee about it, make sure that HR knows he is asking to make sure it isn't an issue and find out what the laws are in your state first.  It can be tricky if the employee is fired or leaves the company, or just wants to cause general trouble for the company for any reason, he can come back and say he was discriminated against due to a health issue. 

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Thanks! DH had no idea what the norm might be. His company is very generous with sick time, paid leave, personal time, and so on. They encourage people to take care of themselves. But he wasn't quite sure, on this one. Employee has only been with the company for 10 mos, so this seems to be the norm for him. He's single, no kids, right out of college. No family in the area. One absence was after a trip to Germany, company HQ, where there was heavy drinking (company culture on those trips), so one absence was for "dehydration." Poor guy. It's entirely possible he's dealing with something chronic.

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DH's company doesn't distinguish between vacation days and sick days.  They simply have "paid time off" and how much an employee has depends on how long they've been with the company.  I think DH has about six weeks/30 days of PTO.  He's been with the company for almost 20 years.

 

That's how dh's works too........... they call it something similar "personal time off". They can use it for sickness, appointments, vacation, whatever..... and they can use it in increments of one hour. The only other time off is bereavement and that amount is based on who it is: spouse/child is two weeks, parent or parent-in-law is one week, grandparents/grandparents-in-law and most others are three days.

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My husband is a federal employee so ditto Kinsa.  Because he rarely takes leave, and it rolls over, he's got at least a couple months saved up now.

 

I first wondered if the employee is a female.  I could totally see needing to have one day a month off and consider that sick leave.  ETA: I see that the employee is a male, so that's not it.  Also, since the sick leave is a benefit they are provided with, why is it a problem that this person is taking the sick leave they have earned just because it's here and there and not in a chunk?  Maybe they are going to appointments.  Maybe they are feeling a little off on occasion.  Maybe they consider it a mental health day.  It just seems odd to me that there's a problem with this employee using the sick leave they are given.  If the company doesn't want their employees to actually use their sick leave as the employee sees fit, why are they given it in the first place?

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My husband has ten sick days, seven personal days (used for anything that isn't personal illness, like fishing trips or conferences), and an additional two weeks of paid vacation. They don't allow you to use sick days for non-sick things, which means people don't run out of them when they need them.

 

This is a standard-to-generous vacation policy and better than every place we have worked but the State of Alaska, itself.

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Oops. Was I unclear? Not surprising. :)

 

There is no sick policy currently in place. So there's nothing earned or given, and if there were - certainly no one would question it. I didn't mean to sound as if DH is questioning what an employee is doing with a benefit.

 

The policy has always been "take what you need, and we'll work with you. If it becomes excessive, we can discuss."

 

The concern is more that this employee might see that there is no policy, all sick leave is covered, and take advantage of it. He started with the company not quite ten months ago, and has called in sick 11 times, counting today. That's in addition to taking personal leave for doc and dental appts, and scheduled vacation.

 

At what point does it become "excessive"? It sounds like 11 sick days in 10 months isn't excessive, which is excellent.

 

I suspect that the CFO will ask DH to out a policy in place though, if the pattern continues, so it's good to know what other companies do.

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Oh, that's different.  So basically they don't earn sick leave, but can just take time off if they are sick?  And that time off is not counted toward their PTO/vacation time?  If I'm understanding that right, I'd say it'd probably be a good idea to maybe add 5 days to the PTO they already get and just call it all personal leave.

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Oops. Was I unclear? Not surprising. :)

 

There is no sick policy currently in place. So there's nothing earned or given, and if there were - certainly no one would question it. I didn't mean to sound as if DH is questioning what an employee is doing with a benefit.

 

The policy has always been "take what you need, and we'll work with you. If it becomes excessive, we can discuss."

 

The concern is more that this employee might see that there is no policy, all sick leave is covered, and take advantage of it. He started with the company not quite ten months ago, and has called in sick 11 times, counting today. That's in addition to taking personal leave for doc and dental appts, and scheduled vacation.

 

At what point does it become "excessive"? It sounds like 11 sick days in 10 months isn't excessive, which is excellent.

 

I suspect that the CFO will ask DH to out a policy in place though, if the pattern continues, so it's good to know what other companies do.

I am guessing that this is a small company if there is nothing in writing for how much sick time is allowed.  I would encourage them to get a limit into place just to avoid situations like this.  

 

 

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It varies a lot, but 10 days sounds like a lot by any standard for someone who isn't recovering from a surgery or something.

 

I think the company needs a policy that takes sick days out of vacation after a point.  Or, like my previous job, just gives a larger total amount for vacation and sick pay combined.

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Since your husband is looking at potentially putting a policy in place, consider whether sick leave is carried over or not. When I worked in benefits at a university I saw that it was very beneficial for employees who were able to carry over unused sick leave. Many women used it for maternity leave. It was also helpful for those who experienced a major illness or surgery to have that paid time off while they recovered. My husband's company does not allow carry over of sick leave so the most he can ever build up is two weeks.

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Dh's company gives a set amount of paid time off per pay period, and it comes out to just under two weeks a year. So one day a month doesn't seem excessive to me if he isn't taking a bunch of vacation days too, but if he is also taking vacation time I think it's a bit much.

 

I know for dh's employer, the quality of work he does would also be a factor. If someone there was calling in sick once a month but working their asses off the rest of the time, it would probably be okay.

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Oops. Was I unclear? Not surprising. :)

 

There is no sick policy currently in place. So there's nothing earned or given, and if there were - certainly no one would question it. I didn't mean to sound as if DH is questioning what an employee is doing with a benefit.

 

The policy has always been "take what you need, and we'll work with you. If it becomes excessive, we can discuss."

 

The concern is more that this employee might see that there is no policy, all sick leave is covered, and take advantage of it. He started with the company not quite ten months ago, and has called in sick 11 times, counting today. That's in addition to taking personal leave for doc and dental appts, and scheduled vacation.

 

At what point does it become "excessive"? It sounds like 11 sick days in 10 months isn't excessive, which is excellent.

 

I suspect that the CFO will ask DH to out a policy in place though, if the pattern continues, so it's good to know what other companies do.

 

What you're describing was how it was forever where dh works. Then directors decided it was being abused and hourly people are only given 3 days a year for sickness, and after that they have to use vacation time. Yes, he had a couple of guys who were taking a 'sick' day once a month when they weren't sick, but the work was getting done.

 

Now with the 3 day thing, it's awful because that doesn't apply to dh.  Salaried employees are exempt from that so he has guys work when they have bad colds because they can't afford to take time off. Then when DH or his boss catch the cold, they stay home and are paid for it.  

 

Yeah, the new policy hasn't helped morale there. And now when dh is sick, he has to decide- make his guys mad by staying home and getting paid, or coming to work, potentially spreading his illness, which REALLY makes his guys mad. 

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My husband gets 15 days a year. So that seems not at all excessive to me. His company needs to specify how much is acceptable.

 

ETA: This is in addition to vacation, which is two weeks at the start, plus ten other holidays through the year.

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What you're describing was how it was forever where dh works. Then directors decided it was being abused and hourly people are only given 3 days a year for sickness, and after that they have to use vacation time. Yes, he had a couple of guys who were taking a 'sick' day once a month when they weren't sick, but the work was getting done.

 

Now with the 3 day thing, it's awful because that doesn't apply to dh. Salaried employees are exempt from that so he has guys work when they have bad colds because they can't afford to take time off. Then when DH or his boss catch the cold, they stay home and are paid for it.

 

Yeah, the new policy hasn't helped morale there. And now when dh is sick, he has to decide- make his guys mad by staying home and getting paid, or coming to work, potentially spreading his illness, which REALLY makes his guys mad.

That sounds horrible!

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What you're describing was how it was forever where dh works. Then directors decided it was being abused and hourly people are only given 3 days a year for sickness, and after that they have to use vacation time. Yes, he had a couple of guys who were taking a 'sick' day once a month when they weren't sick, but the work was getting done.

 

Now with the 3 day thing, it's awful because that doesn't apply to dh. Salaried employees are exempt from that so he has guys work when they have bad colds because they can't afford to take time off. Then when DH or his boss catch the cold, they stay home and are paid for it.

 

Yeah, the new policy hasn't helped morale there. And now when dh is sick, he has to decide- make his guys mad by staying home and getting paid, or coming to work, potentially spreading his illness, which REALLY makes his guys mad.

Three days is a very stingy number of sick days, especially if one has kids who get sick. I can see how this would breed resentment. It also as a negative impact in productivity because people at work sick aren't likely getting as much done and they are, as you said, getting other people sick.

 

I've heard of 5 sick days but I've never worked anywhere where it was less than 10 sick days per year.

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Off the cuff, what about 12 - 15 days a year, after that it comes out of vacation? Everyone has at least three weeks of vacation. The rolling over is a good idea, not sure if he can get that through.

 

At this point, they'd probably leave personal time as it is. It's basically "take what you need, just manage your time and your job well."

 

Does that sound normal? Stingy? Generous?

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Hubby works for state govt. They do 9 sick days a year, but the unused days carry over. I imagine, just like when I taught school, that most people have unused days.

So, technically, you could use more if you had excess days from previous years. I had a teacher coworker, well more than one actually, who took considerable (banked) paid time with serious medical issues. I did that too when I was placed on bed rest.

 

Does your husband's company have paid vacation time? ETA: I see it now. Huh. Sounds very flexible all the way around. Personal time whenever you need it? Could the guy be calling it personal time then?

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Then wouldn't the personal time become the sick time issue all over again? Or am I just cynical?

 

It could. I'd hope not. DH doesn't want to micromanage people's time. He wants them to go to appts, etc as necessary, and just do the work they need to do. Too much to ask?

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Hubby works for state govt. They do 9 sick days a year, but the unused days carry over. I imagine, just like when I taught school, that most people have unused days.

So, technically, you could use more if you had excess days from previous years.

 

Does your husband's company have paid vacation time?

Yes, everyone has a minimum of 3 weeks. Most have 6 weeks.

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They need a clear policy. A policy that has one rule for 'chronic illness' and another for other illnesses can be problematic. Most people are not fond of having to explain the facts of an illness or disease to a boss. It's really no one's business what a specific medical situation consists of, and many people have periodic dehabitative problems that they can't get a clear diagnosis on. It seems like a can of worms.

 

It may be better to allow sick days, allow accrued vacation and personal days to be used for sick days, and then allow unpaid leave for sick leave under a written policy.

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Back in the day, I had two weeks of vacation time and one week of sick time per year.  The vacation time increased by one day per year employed up to three weeks total. It could accumulate year to year but there was a cap after which they would pay it out.  The sick time could be accumulated year to year without a cap.  I had six weeks accumulated when I went on leave when my older son was born.

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I earn 6 hours of sick time every pay period (q 2 weeks) until I reach a maximum of - hmmm - 680 hours (I think). That translates to just over 28 shifts (each shift being 24 hours long). However, if I were to be out sick for 72 hours straight, I might need to provide a doctor's note. I disagree with this particular bit of the policy; however, I don't set policy for the governmental entity for which I work.

 

The hours roll over every year; so, it's not a "use it or lose it" situation. The only way to "lose" hours is to max out and not take off using sick time. All in all, it's a various generous policy.

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I earn 6 hours of sick time every pay period (q 2 weeks) until I reach a maximum of - hmmm - 680 hours (I think). That translates to just over 28 shifts (each shift being 24 hours long). However, if I were to be out sick for 72 hours straight, I might need to provide a doctor's note. I disagree with this particular bit of the policy; however, I don't set policy for the governmental entity for which I work.

 

The hours roll over every year; so, it's not a "use it or lose it" situation. The only way to "lose" hours is to max out and not take off using sick time. All in all, it's a various generous policy.

 

That is a VERY generous policy.  You have nice sick benefits!

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DH gets a lot of sick time. 5 weeks a year of sick time (and 5 weeks of vacation). The sick time accumulates and never falls off. I think he's up to over 900 hrs of sick time at the moment. DH doesn't get sick often, but when he does, he usually ends up in the ER or emergency clinic for something, so he tends to take his time in small chunks rather than one day. 

 

He's been with the company for 12 years now. The first year, they got 2 weeks sick and 2 weeks vacation and it went up a week for each year of employment, maxing out at 5 and 5. 

 

I'm going to follow this thread because DH's company (not the above job, he has a business as well) is deciding what to do for sick and vacation time. I think he and his partner are leaning towards starting with 2 weeks of paid time off - to be used for sick or vacation time.

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Another whose dh just gets PTO. I forget how much exactly, but enough that only the year we went to Africa for a month has he used it all up. He can roll some over and they'll also buy some back from him at the end of the year. Some he nearly always just ends up losing.

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Oops. Was I unclear? Not surprising. :)

 

There is no sick policy currently in place. So there's nothing earned or given, and if there were - certainly no one would question it. I didn't mean to sound as if DH is questioning what an employee is doing with a benefit.

 

The policy has always been "take what you need, and we'll work with you. If it becomes excessive, we can discuss."

 

The concern is more that this employee might see that there is no policy, all sick leave is covered, and take advantage of it. He started with the company not quite ten months ago, and has called in sick 11 times, counting today. That's in addition to taking personal leave for doc and dental appts, and scheduled vacation.

 

At what point does it become "excessive"? It sounds like 11 sick days in 10 months isn't excessive, which is excellent.

 

I suspect that the CFO will ask DH to out a policy in place though, if the pattern continues, so it's good to know what other companies do.

 

I think that sounds like he's taken quite a bit of time off in a short period of time. I've never heard of a company with unlimited days. And those with a high number are expecting the employee to be conservative with them so that if they have a major issue, that is short of short term disability, they have some time built up.

 

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Oh, I forgot to mention, DH's job lets them trade in sick days for vacation. 5 sick days = 1 vacation day. Not a great ratio, but when you've got tons of sick time saved up and have used vacation time, it comes in handy. 

 

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I don't remember how many days dh gets. He works for the government and even though they are given paid sick leave, they are penalized for taking it. Every quarter they compute in some way what the average was. If you take less than the average (some quarters it's one or two days) you get a positive write up in your file. If you take the average you get nothing. If you take more than average you're written up. They've even written up people who took FMLA leave. Generally speaking, you get it, but you're really not supposed to use it....ever. Perhaps not surprisingly, people come in sick (really sick) all the time.

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Off the cuff, what about 12 - 15 days a year, after that it comes out of vacation? Everyone has at least three weeks of vacation. The rolling over is a good idea, not sure if he can get that through.

 

At this point, they'd probably leave personal time as it is. It's basically "take what you need, just manage your time and your job well."

 

Does that sound normal? Stingy? Generous?

 

Extremely generous. I've only seen govt jobs with this much time off.

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