Do you go to work when you're sick?
Three in four workers do. Some feel guilty calling in sick. Others can't afford to.
Anytime she becomes ill, she asks herself, "Can I afford to be sick?" Usually the answer is "no," so off to work she goes.
She's not alone.
A new survey from CareerBuilder found that 72% of workers continue to punch the clock when they're under the weather. Some 55% of the 3,700 workers surveyed said they "feel guilty" if they call in sick.
It's no surprise that about the same number (53%) said they've gotten sick from an infected co-worker. Nice.
CareerBuilder spokeswoman Rosemary Haefner suggests approaching your manager about staying home when sick, or maybe working from home. "Most employers are flexible," she says, "and understand that employees are more productive if they are feeling their best." Post continues after video.
Will you lose your job?
I wish that were true. However, I don't think you can assume that "most" employers are as concerned with employee welfare as they are with certain bottom-line truths: Work must be done and reduced workforces = reduced production.
With so many people looking for jobs, it's likely some workers fear being replaced. That may not always be a rational fear, but it's an understandable one.
When I was 21 and a single mom with a "permanent part-time" job, I didn't dare stay home just because I didn't feel good. One week my back was aching pretty badly; I took aspirin and soldiered on.
A few days later I woke up queasy and feverish. Rather than call in sick, I got the baby off to day care and then dragged myself to work, occasionally leaning on lampposts or street signs for support. An hour after my shift started I told my supervisor that I needed to visit the company nurse.
I had a temperature of 103. The nurse told me to go to the doctor immediately. It turned out to be a kidney infection. At one point my fever hit 105 degrees and I had to get in the bathtub to cool down. I should probably have been hospitalized, but that didn't occur to me.
'$3 till payday'
What did occur to me was to fret about missing work. I had a few sick days but needed to save them in case my daughter became ill. Although the CareerBuilder survey did not mention this demographic, I'd be willing to bet that more than a few working parents feel the same way.
The survey also didn't indicate how many people come to work simply because they don't get any sick days. I expect there are a lot of those, too, especially folks who are part time or temping or (like the working-poor blogger) in the retail sector.
In the above-mentioned post, she got so sick she had to take one day off. This reduced her paycheck to $199, in a week when she needed to deposit $196 to make up the rent.
"It's just a huge nuisance to have $3 till payday," she writes.
These days I'm self-employed, with no sick leave as such. If I'm feeling subpar I can structure the workday around, say, icing my sprained ankle.
But if I got really sick, lying-in-bed-feeling-ghastly sick? Nobody is going to pay me for work I don't deliver, and as a freelance writer you can't afford to skip a deadline. In other words, I still don't dare not work if I get sick.
Readers: Do you have sick days? Are you nervous about using them? If you don't have sick days, how do you manage?
More from MSN Money:
I go to work when I am sick because my employer does not believe in sick leave. Fortunately, I only get ill about once a year, but it would be nice to rest for a day or two and recuperate.
We are all afraid of losing our jobs, so no one ever calls out, or feels comfortable using a vacation day.
A lot of companies did away with sick leave. All leave is packaged in one place, personal time off and includes sick and vacation time. If you want to take off for being sick, you get less time to take off for vacation.
And as to just calling in sick when you aren't, that is unethical. If you can't say you need to take off the day for the reason you want, then you can and should get your lying butt fired!
BTW--going to work while sick with the flu or some other type of serious illness, let alone the common cold, not only endangers the other employees, but their families as well...it is a vicious circle and people need to use common sense when ill.
I also had many hospital accounts where some of them successfully counteracted this problem by giving all of their employees PCT or Personal Comp Time. They would issue 2.5 days of PCT each month and it was up to the worker how they chose to use those days, ie: for vacation or sick days or to go to their kid's school events, etc. If they had used up all of their PCT and they were out, it was considered unpaid time off. If they were absent too often, they could be fired. They could also cash in their unused PCT each year if they desired. I knew some workers who would save up and then cash in several weeks of PCT each year to use for Christmas presents.
I always thought this PCT program was a very interesting and fair system.
OK, the employee goes to work sick, spreads disease, or has a real stress problem to deal with at home that could made it a dangerous work situation. I know a young man who went to work and passed out from stress, afraid he would lose his job. What should that employee do and not lose his job. What happen to mercy, compassion, and understanding. He was sick, but looking at him you would never know.
I know a man that cashed in 44 weeks of vacation pay at the end of his public service job. He had health problems, (A Bleeder) and his doctor let him continue to work even though the doctor knew he had lost over a pint of blood in his bed during the night. Get real. these big smart CEO love money more than their workers.
Yes I have gone to work when I was so sick I could hardly think. But, that is the mentality of most "Managers" they don't care how sick you are just show up!. There were so many people coming to work sick at one time that the flu kept being passed around for several months
Sometimes you need a break from all the stress and demands of your job. Getting away helps your mental health as well as you physical health and helps put you back on track with your job, that does not mean vacation time---but sick time "you are sick" of all the stress and demands!
I am very very lucky to have sick leave and to be able to use it. Many years ago I was in the military and there is no sick leave in the military, that is one of the reasons I didn't make the military a career. I have also worked as a temp w/o sick leave, but I have always been fortunate that I could make my income stretch far enough to cover the time I took off.
My son was once written up on a job for taking off under a doctors orders for pneumonia.
most if not all employers will not let you take time off sick. if they can get away with it. i worked in a retail store. the manager kept the number of employees down because his bonus was tied to labor cost.( this is done a lot) so he kept the pressure on for people to come to work sick , he did not keep enough employees to cover injuries, or sickness. i have seen people sick throwing up in the rest rooms and break rooms because they were afraid to take time off. i have watched them keep the pressure on making people come to work sick, when those flu alerts, were on and people coming to work sick passing the flu around the store two or three times. and giving it to the public, have to be honest the public gave a lot to us to. So i guess the main thing is that the employer makes and creates these kinds of environments' and intensifies them they should be held accountable. for them. i know that now if i go into a store and i can see employees that are working sick and it happen enough to make an impression on me or I get sick i find some where else to shop. and i recommend everyone do that. after a while it would make an impression.
It really is saddening to hear of the lack of compassion and commensense on the part of so many employers. My heart goes out to those who cannot take time off work when ill. My job offers great insurance benefits and plenty of sick leave and annual leave (govt). Only thing odd is if we are off for 3+ days we have to have a doctors note - makes us feel like we are in school again. I do not understand why employers are so cold and ignorant - when one sick person goes in, others generally tend to catch whatever it is. Productivity goes down and I am pretty sure the employees would have a vv bad attitude which doesn't lead to any better productivity. That story about the grandfather who saved his grandkids from a shark sort of brings this home. If what I read is correct, he was on sick leave due to stress from his job (sounded reasonable) and he got fired for going on a vacation while out. I think his employers were wrong in their approach and they could have disciplined him but there it is. My hope for you folks with callous employers is that you can either get the system changed or find a job where the worker is respected and given appropriate leave times.
Good luck and God Bless.
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