Calling in Sick – When is enough, enough?

Jenn DonovanCulture, Operations, UncategorizedLeave a Comment


You get the flu, sprain an ankle, or have a sick child – these all fall under reasons you’d probably call out of work and take a sick day, right? But what happens when Susan calls out of work every other week because she has a hang nail, she has a flat tire – AGAIN, or she has a sniffle? According to CareerBuilder, about 38% of employees have called in sick when they felt perfectly fine. So, what can you do to curb employee sick day abuse? We’ve got a few suggestions.

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Create a combined PTO policy. Merging sick and vacation time under one Paid Time Off (PTO) umbrella may not seem like it will make a difference, but when constant sick time abusers realize that their excessive call outs may affect their actual vacation days – they may think twice about blowing through all their time by March.
Track the abuse. Is the employee calling out the same day of the week each time, or the same days of the month? If you notice a pattern, it could be traced to a sport schedule or perhaps their child’s school schedule.
Is it a medical or disability issue? An employee may have an issue at home that they don’t want to disclose, or an illness that requires a lot of doctor appointments or days when they aren’t capable of working. You’ll want to investigate whether it may be an American with Disabilities Act issue or an FMLA issue and you just aren’t aware.
Create a call out policy that requires speaking to someone. Employees are much less likely to call out if they must speak to their boss on the phone vs. leaving a voicemail, email, or text.
Talk to the employee! This ones seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how nonconfrontational some managers may be. Open the lines of communication and see if you can find out the root cause behind the behavior

This next part may seem counterintuitive, BUT we think it’s pretty darn important at the Red Barn. Don’t discourage employees from taking mental health days if they really need them. Many employees struggle with work life balance and that stress can get overwhelming at times. If employees are starting to get burnt out – encourage them to take a day mental health day. Trust me – everyone will benefit from it, AND it will help prevent employee turnover. I’m not saying it’s OK to take one every week, but if they are working on a particularly tough project or account, taking one day a month won’t kill any.
Curious what some of the most popular and ridiculous reasons people call out of work? Check out this list – there are a few good ones! CLICK HERE

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