Paid sick leave

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by glocke12, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #1
    Something else to talk about besides guns:

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/...s-debate-over-paid-sick-days/?intcmp=HPBucket

    Bad flu season resurrecting "sick leave" argument.

    I've got mixed feelings on this. I don't think companies, especially smaller ones should be forced to pay employees who call out sick. Some of these places are probably just breaking even to begin with, and by paying someone a full days wages who is not actually there could really cause some damage to that company.

    On the other hand, I feel that benefits such as a certain amount of paid sick leave is a good incentive for companies to hire and retain good employees.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #2
    I get 8 weeks full paid sick leave and 8 weeks 1/2 pay per year as part of my contract of employment (I work for a medium sized company)

    I've never really taken any sick leave until last year when I had a couple of operations due to a ruptured ligament in my wrist and was off work for 4 weeks in total (2 weeks after each op). I felt pretty guilty about taking it off even though I was fully entitled and actually gave up 6 days of holiday entitlement that I had left at the end of the year

    I think paid sick leave is a good idea for genuine illness, but the problem is far too many people seem to view it as additional holiday entitlement and just take time off when they feel like it
     
  3. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    It's not really an issue here in Europe, sick days are paid through out the EU, although I believe that some countries do not pay the first sick day.
    You must be able to produce a doctors note if asked by employer.

    It is so that if you are sick on your annual (holidays/vacation), you can claim the days back.

    The European Court of Justice ruled in June 2012 that when workers are too ill to work during paid annual leave, they are entitled to reclaim that leave later to compensate for the days during which they were sick. The ruling, which has been prompted by a case brought by unions in Spain, also makes it clear that entitlement to paid annual leave is an important principle of EU social law enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and cannot be interpreted restrictively.

    http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/2012/07/articles/eu1207011i.htm
     
  4. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    #4
    5 paid sick days seems reasonable. Disability insurance would cover catastrophes.
     
  5. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

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    #5
    In the UK sick leave is for dodging meetings and dealing with hangovers. When I hear that someone is sick, I translate it as, 'I'm taking the day off'.

    Of course people get genuinely too ill to work and have operations etc. In my experience though, usually it's not the case. People are supposed to provide sick notes, but most places wont chase you for them.

    Maternity must terrify some small enterprises. You could go bust by simply taking the wrong woman, but how do you ask someone if they're planning on getting pregnant without causing offense or ending up in a tribunal.
     
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #6
    Yes, indeed. Good post.

    However, many contract and part-time workers are not covered by EU sick or paid leave law (an omission that the EU is slowly coming around to addressing).

    Not necessarily. If one is ill for more than a day a doctor's note is required.

    However, to the OP (and thanks for creating a thread on this) and others, there are a few wider issues at stake here, which means that the discussion goes a bit beyond who should fund sick leave.

    Obviously, one is the difference in outlook and perspective which can be found on this issue between European attitudes (and laws) and those in the US. We are back to the old reliables of public versus private health, and the age old question of whether health (and health provision, and health costs) should be a public or a private good. In much of Europe, (and increasingly promoted by the EU), is the idea that the entitlement to sick leave is a public good, and so should be funded by employers (including the state).

    Of course, it is open to abuse, as are many such things. However, I have noticed that there are a number of reasons why people go sick. Niuniu mentions hangovers and dodging meetings - and of course this happens.

    In any case, most adults adapt to the workplace by not going on benders during the work week; re meetings, if the verbose learned to be a little more succinct, and the power-trippers had their little wings clipped, - in other words, if more people learned how to run meetings properly, most who attend them would not find them so arduous. Learning to run a meeting so that the agenda is completed, nobody's nose is out of joint, and what needs to be addressed has been aired are serious life skills; it is just that most people lack them.

    However, it goes deeper than that. Most people who take sick leave do so because they are sick. This can be a genuine illness, or an illness which comes as a result of work place problems, such as stress.

    My experience is that if a place of employment has a serious problem with sick leave then one might more profitably look at work patterns, environmental conditions, or other matters such as whether bullying is tolerated (or tacitly encouraged) as a workplace management practice. Contented, respected and well-treated workers rarely have deviant patterns of sick leave abuse.

    Re maternity leave, again, we are back to the question of who pays, and whether childcare is a public or a private good. Here one has to ask whether childcare & maternity leave is seen as something which benefits society or is an individual service (which implies that only those who can afford it should avail of it). The provision of affordable childcare makes a woman's return to the workforce an awful lot easier. In any case, I'm a European, and thus, am of the view that healthcare, education and decent housing ought to come under the category of public goods and services, funded by taxes and public policy, and, above all, stoutly buttressed by a worldview which sees the (public) provision of such as something worth having in a civilised society.
     
  7. elistan macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Forced? No. But it's in the company's own best interest, IMO, regardless of size. a) A sick person without paid sick time will probably come in to work if at all possible. Such a person is not going to be doing their normal level of work. b) A sick person is often a contagious person if you're talking about colds and influenza. By encouraging a sick person to show up, there is the chance of them getting their corworkers sick, resulting in a net loss of productivity for the company. c) As you say, it's an incentive to potential hires.

    Personally, I like the PTO setup. Vacation and sick time get combined into one pool. So instead of two weeks of vacation and 10 days of sick time, you'd get 20 days of PTO to use as you please.
     
  8. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

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    I think it should be a requirement. Problem you run into when you do not have paid sick leave is people have to go into work sick. This causes the spread of disease. This made worse as many of these places are retail. Retail means even more people that come in contact and makes it worse not better.

    Also sick workers are ineffective and just make others sick.
    Already been shown if people take their sick leave is saves companies money instead of cost them money. Problem is that requires counter intuitive thinking which is a little beyond the Conservative people in this world.
    It turns out to be cheaper in the long run because productivities of workers is increased over all as they are not sick, and they have fewer days they are sick and working.

    It should be required because as I pointed out retail is the biggest offender of this and for the greater health of everyone this should be done.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    Two very good posts, which address the single key reason why it is not a good idea to deny paid sick leave as it means that employees will end up staggering into work while ill.

    This has at least two drawbacks. The first is that co-workers could end up infected, too. The second is that sick people are not able to work well; at the very least, they will under-perform while ill, at most, an error of judgement made while fighting illness may well end up costing the company dearly.
     
  10. Arran macrumors 68040

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    #10
    I imagine the cost of sick leave is already figured into the total cost of employing someone. If it isn't then the employer is slacking.

    If they abolished paid sick leave then wouldn't employees want to renegotiate total compensation? Sounds like a lot of wheel-spinning for nothing (other than p*****g off the employees).
     
  11. Huntn macrumors G5

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    #11
    It is. Having your life turned up side down because you are sick and not being paid would suck. Yes there are cases of abuse.
     
  12. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    I find the biggest offenders of not giving sick leave are jobs were the mental stuff is not a big deal. For example low paying jobs like retail. If you are slightly slower is is not really going to slow things down or cause any big problems but on the flip side those type of jobs tend to interact with a lot of people from the general public spreading sickness.

    Now for my job (software dev) it is another story. If we are sick we tend to cause in terms of quality and amount of work we put out. We need to be more mentally sharp.
    Now if you have a job that requires to be physically demanding same issue if you are sick.
    Also recovery times are increased when you are not able to rest.
     
  13. GermanyChris macrumors 601

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    #13
    Yea the poor company having to treat an employee holistically..
     
  14. chrono1081 macrumors 604

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    I support paid sick leave, here's why.

    I work in an office with probably 20 other people. One of them gets sick and comes to work, a week later over half of the office is out sick while the remainder are struggling to keep up with the work load because one person wouldn't call off.

    This has happened three times since Dec 1st in my office and we're getting crushed with work, all because one person didn't take their sick day.

    We actually have signs at work where employees are told to take sick days if they are sick and managers are supposed to send sick employees home.

    Closed office environments are great at spreading sickness.
     
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #15
    I am against PTO over vacation and sick leave being separate because most people will think as PTO as vacation and come to work sick. It harder to get people to take PTO for being sick. Also it really hurts people with kids as they have to pull from vaction to take care of sick kids and tend to use more of their PTO for their kids. Now me I do not have kids so I tend to come out on top in the deal but I see co workers struggle with it trying to juggle the 2.
    Now I personally took 5 days of my 3 weeks of PTO and toss them into my "sick" days and plan to treat them as such.
     
  16. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    #16
    I think maternity pay should be split equally between the sexes, so you can just as easily take the "wrong man", but at the end of the day most maternity pay is covered by the government, and there isn't that much that's covered by companies.

    And its not as if you don't get ~6 months notice of the employee going on maternity leave - and its also a ~6 month period where they aren't going to leave for any other reason.

    Or you allow people to book off short term holiday to cover the morning after - rather than people taking it as sick leave ;).

    Part of it is that someone has to sit down and do something like 3 hours preparation work for each hour meeting. If you do that then its perfectly possible to have productive meetings that aren't too boring.
     
  17. niuniu macrumors 68020

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    #17
    In real terms you're talking 1000's of pounds in rehiring and retraining, + 8% of the pay if your NI contribs are over 45k, which isn't much to a large business, but to a small business with a tight cashflow that can put you completely under. Many businesses in their first few years survive with only 100s of pounds either way from month to month. Many surviving out of bank overdraft arrangements.
     
  18. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    #18
    Maybe we need to do more to help our businesses.
     
  19. Carlanga macrumors 604

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    #19
    I'm all for sick leave, imagine if the small company is just breaking even, that employee is prob. living from month to month w/ increasing debt. I see many patients w/ poor resources trying to get loans w/ crazy rates and stuff to pay their house bills while on the hospital. Of course a better handling of $ by their part since the start would have ameliorated many of the issues, but most are not taught the necessary tools for proper $ handling. Hell, I see it all the time w/ people that earn good amount of $ too. I do believe sick leave should have limits on constant days w/out working like a working week at the most at one time, reduced earning maybe, plus a hospital/doctors notice that can be verified. Of course the best would be to get an insurance that covers hospitalization or sickness.
     
  20. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    I hate it when people either don't have, feel they can't use, or won't use sick leave. Because I hate to get the flu and I hate to be around people who have the flu and are trying to give it to me. Sick leave is a benefit for people who are perfectly well and want to stay that way.
     
  21. skunk macrumors G4

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    #21
    Paid sick leave is part of any humane contract of employment.
     
  22. heehee macrumors 68020

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    #22
    8 WEEKS?!?!? That's 2 months, plus vacation, that's atleast 3 months off work per year. I need to work for that company.

    We get 5 days per year but nothing is written in stone.

    This, otherwise, it forces people to go into work sick and infect others.
     
  23. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    #23
    It's not that unusual, my contract allows 65 working days at full pay a year, so 13 weeks. Then statutory sick pay kicks in. If you are off for three or more dayes you have to get a doctors note.

    Income Protection insurance is getting more common now too, if illness/injury means you can't work in the long term (ie many months or years and you have to leave your job) it pays out 50% of your final salary until you recover, up to retirement age. My employer provides it, but its not as expensive as people may think.

    Decent benefits are something I've looked for in employers (ie above statutory levels of annual leave, sick leave. Plus other things like life insurance etc) not only becase they are nice things to have, but it shows that an employer realises the importance of their staff.
     
  24. GermanyChris macrumors 601

    GermanyChris

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    #24
    Where do you live?
     
  25. ChristianJapan macrumors 601

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    #25
    good old days when I worked in Germany. At that time six weeks payed sick leave ( was it eight ? Forgot); after that the health insurance took over; with reduced amount of salary. You didn't lost the job but the company didn't need to pay your salary for longer sick leaves. Somewhere around that a compromise is good.

    I also have no problem with the first one or two days are unpaid if no confirmation from a physicean if provided. There was quite a misuse at the time where people took their "summer flu" to bridge for longer weekends. Sure that reduced with a weaker economy.

    Where I'm now we have 20 days payed sickleave but there is quite some paperwork around with HR and company doctor. Mostly you get that for times in hospital or rehabilitation etc. Not quite sure if that is nation wide or specific to my company. My wife always urge me to keep as many as vacation days left over to be able to cover for such events (and once I had to use).

    From management point of view the employees get asked by company to stay home in case of fever and flu to avoid infecting colleagues. But still it means a day vacation is gone.

    I prefer the EU approach for sure.
     

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