Your Company Sucks if it Doesn’t Allow You to Take Sick Days

I was talking to someone the other day who told me that her company doesn’t allow you to use sick days. If you call in sick, it is an unexcused absense, you get written up, and it goes on your record.

That means if you are in the hospital with food poisoning, or if you get in a car accident and are in the operating room having surgery to save your life, or at the orthodontist having your teeth pulled, you are going to be penalized by your employer.

She then went on to say that employees were given PTO (paid time off, also known as “vacation time”), but it has to be scheduled 2 weeks in advance. Now that’s a pretty standard corporate policy, but if she gets sick it doesn’t come out of her PTO bank, but instead she gets a mark against her for her review. Apparently you are supposed to plan when you will get sick and let your managers know at least two weeks in advance.

The last corporate job I held had a similar policy. Non-management employees were not allowed to call in sick (I was in management so it didn’t apply to me, but even if I wasn’t I still would have called in sick rather than follow that bullshit policy). If you were sick, you were expected to come to work sick, and if your manager felt you were sick enough, he or she could send you home. I wasn’t aware that middle-level corporate managers were medical doctors capable of making such diagnoses.

If you have the reasoning abilities of an 8 year old you can see the problem with that. People get the flu and they’re supposed to come to work? Not only is that a horrible heatlh policy (for the sake of other employees), but it’s a poor health policy for the person who has to ride the train or drive or bike an hour while sick to get to work for fear of being written up if they don’t. Needless to say, people there were always sick, and the paramedics showed up at my job more than once because someone with the flu or mono or whatever had to come to work despite having a fever of 104, wasn’t allowed to go home, and passed out as a result.

When I got laid off from that job I was so happy that I didn’t have to work in that disease pit anymore. And this was from a relatively cushy, well-paying, low-stress job that I enjoyed and at which I was very good. Well, the work was relatively stress free, but avoiding all the sick people was high stress.

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