Sick Days: Do You Have a Healthy Policy in Place?

You know those mornings when you just can’t get out of bed? Not just those tired, lazy mornings, but the days when your head is pounding, maybe with a migraine that hurts you more just thinking about getting up. Or maybe you’re camped out in the bathroom. Perhaps your body can’t decide if it should be shivering or sweating, or shivering. Whatever your ailment, you know you shouldn’t leave your house.

But then you start thinking about that meeting you really shouldn’t miss or that project due soon. Or you can’t miss a full day’s pay or you won’t make rent this month. So you drag your body out of bed. You make it to work. But you know you shouldn’t be there because your body feels so hammered you can’t think clearly enough to get anything done. And you’re breathing into the air, infecting who knows how many others.

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Unless you manage a company of robots, your company is made up of actual people who, unfortunately, get sick. Many companies have implemented sick-day policies that give your people paid time off to sleep it off or you’ll have a whole slew of sick workers and no one will be getting anything done. Because there are different ways you can set up sick-day policies, you need to make sure the way you’re doing it is still the best way to benefit both your company and your people. Here are some ways sick-day policies can be organized with some pros and cons to consider for each:

· Give each employee a certain amount of paid sick days that accrues based on years of service to organization and position.
Pro: Makes your long-term people feel important and encourages retention.
Con: Do higher level employees get sick more than lower level? Uh, probably not.

· Keep sick days consistent by giving every full-time employee the same amount of paid sick days per year.
Pro: Hopefully that new employee won’t take a whole bunch of sick days, then quit.
Con: Will some people make up stories and say they’re sick just to use up their allotted amount?

· Group sick days in with vacation and personal days, then allow employees to use them depending on circumstance.
Pro: If an employee doesn’t often get sick, he or she can have more vacation time or personal days. Yay!
Con: Sometimes people who really are sick will try to muscle out a day at work—and infect others around them—just so they’re not using up vacation days for their trip to Europe this summer.

· Give your people a fixed number of paid sick days at the beginning of the year.
Pro: Sounds pretty fair.
Con: Will people use up all their sick days early and then come in to work sick if they’re all used up?

· Set up a formula that allows each employee a certain amount of accrued sick time for a certain time frame per year.
Pro: You won’t have as many people using up sick days when they’re not sick.
Con: What if one of your people gets really sick before he has enough time accrued? They might try to come into work sick, which infects everyone around them and affects their productivity.

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· Have you ever considered offering sick time off as needed, with no limits?
Pro: If you treat adults like adults, they just might not let you down and they’ll take only what they need. No games.
Con: Will some people take advantage of this system? Will you worry about it?

Of course there are other factors you may want to consider upfront. Are you going to allow your people to use their own sick days to care for a sick child or spouse? Will you allow unused sick days to roll over into the next year? Can sick days be used to attend funerals of immediate family members? Once you’ve decided how you would like sick days to be used in your company, you can set those policies into place and set expectations.

How can automated PTO help you manage the sick-day process?
Paid time off (PTO) used to be a bear to manage. But now that HR software has automated a lot of PTO functions, sick days are much easier to manage. A good HR software will allow you to specify different types of PTO, including adding a specific category for sick days, so that it’s easy for your sick employees to ask for the day off. Because HR software accrues everything automatically, it will tell you if that person has the time needed to have that sick day paid. Or whatever policy you choose, your HR software will keep track of it. Employees will also be able to add notes in their request to take that sick day to let HR know they’ve got the sniffles.

HR software has made it so easy to request time off—and for you to approve it—that your people can request time off on their mobile devices. They don’t even have to get out of bed to do it! So they can start working on getting better right away and return to work!

Want to try out an HR software that will automate your sick days, click here for a free 7-day trial to see just how easy it can be!