Have Sick Employees?
Most managers are working with limited resources as companies work hard to beef up their bottomline. What happens when an employees calls in sick and especially if you are in the midst of a major project? Do you find that this happens often?
Most likely all employees, including yourself, are sick at least once during the year. It’s possible they will call in sick several times throughout the year. Generally companies have a sick policy in place for just that reason. Does a sick call by an employee frustrate you because of deliverables and, if so, how can you effectively handle the situation.
First, you don’t want sick people showing up at work because they could potentially infect others and you will have more sick people. I’ve worked at companies where being out for any reason was discouraged and therefore sick people came to work. Maybe an employee has children at home and wants to save their “sick time” for when the child is sick. For everyone’s sake, send a sick person home. If they must work, let them work at home.
Second, how do you react when someone calls in sick. Are you understanding or do you lay on the guilt? It’s important to give employees permission to take care of themselves.
Third, if you have an employee that is always sick, then you have a performance issue and that needs to be addressed. Especially when they call in Monday or Friday. I used to track actual days off for a medium size company and we found those two days were most prevalent and we were able to track who was abusing it.
Employees believe that sick time is an entitlement similiar to vacation and yet it’s not. Unless under a contract, employees, when terminating, don’t receive any payout for this time. This is where employees need to be educated that it’s time only to be sick.
If you do have a specific policy for sick time off, be advised how to track exempt and non-exempt employees. The Federal Government has very specific laws regarding how you pay or don’t pay employees.
Check out the
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
to educate yourself on whether an employee is
exempt or non-emempt and how to handle their pay regarding their status.
More and more companies are getting around that issue and have created one bucket called Personal Time Off (PTO) which is inclusive of sick, personal or vacation. A few companies are doing away with allocating time off and instead track an employee’s performance as the key to their success. Employee’s time off isn’t track nor do they receive any compensation if they leave.
“How to Manage Employees Sick Leave” by Sherri Starcher on Franchwire.com also indicates having a plan to cover every employee’s work load so you have back up to critical work. There is where cross training is effective in handling employee absenses.
At some point everyone gets sick. It’s just a fact of life. And, at some point your key employees are going to get sick
If you see that alot of your employees are calling in sick, it would be important to analyze your role as their manager, the workplace and any other potential issues for the employees.
Trust your employees when they call in sick. If it’s chronic, then deal with it because it’s now a performance issue.