Sick Leave (Medical Leave) at work is something that is being increasingly abused—especially during the eve and after a public holiday; when people have “better things” to do than go to work. Studies have shown that more people are sick during the holiday season and on the day before and after a public holiday. Governmental agencies are also known to have the highest number of recorded absences. A recent study of absenteeism at work has shown that it costs around $602 per employee each year. This is not including overtime pay for employees filling in, the hiring of temporary workers and the cost of lost sales, poor morale, missed deadlines and reduction in productivity. This can increase the losses by another 25 percent.
Even so, employers need to offer Sick Leave (Medical Leave). Forcing employees to work when they are sick can make health problems worse and can spread illness, making productivity even worse and lowering efficiency. But some employers are suffering from abuse of the Sick Leave (Medical Leave) program, which means dollars lost to the corporation.
It is usually a small number of employees who habitually abuse the system of Sick Leave (Medical Leave), leaving the corporation in need of a clear written policy on the numbers of sick days allowed and which illnesses qualify for Sick Leave (Medical Leave). There needs to be some exception for catastrophic illness such as cancer or heart disease. Disciplinary action, such as termination or a note on one’s work record needs to be in place for those who don’t abide by the written policy. The policy needs to be both flexible and firm.
Violations of a corporation’s Sick Leave (Medical Leave) policy include things like having too many absences, coming late for work and leaving early from work. It can involve a failure to ask for permission to leave or failing to give advanced notice of a scheduled procedure or absence, failing to actually report the illness to the superiors or failure to submit a doctor’s medical certificate in the first place.
Employers need to look at trends in work Sick Leave (Medical Leave) so that the whole thing isn’t an epidemic in the workplace. Think about whether workplace practices are affecting employee absences and whether or not the problem is illnesses in the children of your employees. If you can find the root cause of problems with Sick Leave (Medical Leave) and correct them, there can be a chance for less abuse of the Sick Leave (Medical Leave) policy.
Managers need to enforce the Sick Leave (Medical Leave) policy and report abuse if it occurs on the small scale within the greater confines of the company. You need to find out why an employee is abusing the Sick Leave (Medical Leave) policy and say “no” when it is clear that the employee is abusing the system by taking unscheduled time off in excess.
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