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Sick Leave

January 7, 2010

Both T and I have been feeling ill since Sunday.  I finally stayed home from work Wednesday, figuring if I took a day to rest up, I’d feel better. It didn’t work. I don’t think I’m contagious, so I’m going in today anyway.   (I work largely by myself and am careful about germs.)

We get a somewhat unreasonable amount of sick leave (in my opinion), yet I still feel bad using it.  Even when I was home yesterday, I intended on “making up” half of the hours I was out.  This isn’t because I’m incredibly busy at work this week, rather because I don’t want to be a slacker.

If I can be productive the next two days, I have the weekend to fully recover.  Let’s hope next week is better!

How much sick leave do you get?  Do you feel bad using it?

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2010 10:05 am

    I ALWAYS feel bad taking sick days, even when I’m legitimately sick. Over the past 17 months at this job, I’ve taken 1 sick day.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. apieceofwood permalink
    January 7, 2010 10:24 am

    I don’t mind if I am sick sick.. but then I can work from home so can always try and do a bit.. I get 12 weeks sick… that’s a lot I know…

  3. January 7, 2010 12:44 pm

    I’ve almost never felt guilty taking a sick day. My co-workers don’t want my germs, my classmates don’t want my germs. And why would I want to force myself to do work when I feel miserable?

    Why are you a slacker if you take a day, or a couple days, to rest and recuperate?

  4. January 7, 2010 1:58 pm

    I hate it when co-workers come in sick too, I don’t like listening to them hack and wheeze through the day. We don’t get separate sick leave, only PTO. So you can call in sick, but there goes your vacation! I hope you feel better soon.

  5. January 7, 2010 2:05 pm

    Same here…I feel guilty, even if I’m legitimately sick. Fortunately I didn’t get really sick this year. Out of my 5 days….all went unused. The previous year I think I may have used one or two….but never all 5.

  6. SP permalink*
    January 7, 2010 2:41 pm

    It is hard to explain why I feel guilty. I guess it is because today I’m able to work but i feel crappy — working from home would be the perfect option, but I can’t do that. I would have felt horribly bad missing 4 days this week due to something like this, but I stayed home on the worst day. If I’m terribly ill I stay home.

    On the other hand, if I stayed home every time I had a sniffle, I would use up all my sick leave plus maybe more. Despite claims to the contrary, I don’t think management appreciates people who use all of their sick leave up. Maybe I just get more illnesses than others, but there is a certain level of sick that I have to be before I call in.

  7. January 7, 2010 3:08 pm

    I’m an 80% employee at my office job, so I get no sick days and five personal (which I can use as sick if needed) which means I need to be REALLY sick in order to use one… I think I used half a day once in the last two years. I also tend to put off getting sick until weekends and holidays (yay me :-P)

  8. January 7, 2010 4:06 pm

    I don’t know how any self-respecting personal finance blogger can feel guilty about using sick days! Here’s the bottom line: Your compensation package is obviously composed of things far beyond your salary proper. There are health care benefits, 401(k) matches, “summer hours” in some cases (half-day Fridays b/w Memorial Day and Labor Day), etc, etc, etc…And of course, there are vacation days and sick days!

    I’m of the frame of mind that unless you’re able to roll them over and/or cash them out if they go unused, it is financially irresponsible to NOT use every last one of your vacation days and sick days. Why? Because if you don’t, you’re basically working for LESS money per hour for every hour that you DO work. Even if you’re salaried, you can break your pay down to an hourly rate, and the difference between using and not using 10 days of sick time (two whole weeks of work!) is pretty significant.

    That time is YOURS – the company GAVE it to you. Use it.

    And who cares if you’re not really sick? As long as you’re doing quality work and meeting deadlines, I say you should feel free to take mental health days.

    • SP permalink*
      January 7, 2010 5:35 pm

      It is mine! However our sick leave is specifically separate from vacation leave, and it is not meant to be used if you aren’t sick. Except for doctor’s appointments (which I use it for now and then). I’m sure that is in the policy too.

      The culture of my direct coworkers seems to be that you don’t use it all up unless you come down with something nasty. Which people do, but not a lot.

      I almost wish I just had PTO to use as I pleased — would make it simpler!

  9. January 7, 2010 4:50 pm

    I get 5 sick days, and I don’t feel bad for using them if i’m legitimately sick. I also can’t stand it when people come to work sick with their runny noses and hacking up mucus. It’s not pleasant to listen to, and I can just picture the bacteria traveling towards me and infecting me.

    Feel better!

  10. matt permalink
    January 7, 2010 6:19 pm

    I am a teacher so I get a lot of sick leave. I just took my first “sick” sick day in my teaching career this week. I have been teacher 12 years. Sick days can also be taken for death’s in the family, sick family members and doctor’s appointments. I get 3 personal days a year also which I usually don’t use. The turn into sick days. I now have over 185 sick days, which is enough to take a whole year off. The cool thing is, is when I retired I will get paid for about 1/4 of the sick leave I do not use.
    and yes I feel guilty about using sick day (also it usually increases my work load)
    I don’t feel guilty about having a snow day though – which I had today!

  11. Michele permalink
    January 7, 2010 8:14 pm

    In my first job out of college, we got 5 weeks vacation PLUS 12 days of sick leave (place was pure magic, I never should have left), and my coworker and I would plan weeks in advance ‘I’m going to be sick on the 25th, if you want to take the 17th.’ Ha!

  12. January 7, 2010 10:23 pm

    I feel like your mentality is a typical American mentality. (I’m American too, but with a European mom and boyfriend, I feel like I have some perspective) And it’s hard not to have that mentality, because the culture of the American workplace only accepts staying home if you’re “terribly ill.” Something needs to be done about that! Don’t (mentally and physically) healthier people = more productive people?

  13. January 8, 2010 7:06 am

    I used to take “mental health” days all the time, actually. I haven’t since coming to DC, but I don’t know if I would feel bad about doing it. Then again, if there was something important going on, I’d probably just suck it up and go in.

  14. January 8, 2010 10:06 am

    I have 6 days of time off (apart from my vacation of course) which is to be used for doctors appointments, sick days, or floating holidays. In the two years I’ve been at my job, I’ve taken only 1.5 sick days. One of them was when boyfriend had violent food poisoning and I didn’t want to leave him alone, and the other was when I went home feeling sick. I felt guilty leaving early, but I didn’t feel guilty for taking care of boyfriend. No idea why! I also happen to have amazing bosses, so they encourage you to take time off if you need it… so there really shouldn’t be any guilt, but I feel irresponsible anyhow!

  15. January 8, 2010 1:14 pm

    I get 5 sick days per year. Since I started my job in June 2008, I have used 2.5 sicks days. Most of my coworkers use ALL their sick days EVERY year. I just don’t get sick often…

    I feel guilty, too, unless I am really bed-ridden sick! (I don’t even know the last time that happened. Knock on wood.)

  16. Bonnie permalink
    January 8, 2010 1:38 pm

    I get 12 days of sick time, but I don’t even take half of that. I usually end up taking one or two days for ‘mental health’ or if someone comes in town unexpectedly, and then maybe 3 or 4 days, at most, for being legitimately sick. Some coworkers, though, use all of their sick days, and some who have children use them for when their kids are sick. I agree with one of the commenters that the American way of thinking about vacation and sick days is wrong, but it’s hard to shake. Now, I ALWAYS use every drop of vacation and never have any roll-over days. There are people at my workplace who are such workaholics that they get 5 or 6 weeks of vacation after working here for many years, and they might take 2 of those and then they let the rest disappear (i.e., they LOSE all those days!). I think that’s just asinine.

    • SP permalink*
      January 8, 2010 1:47 pm

      Agree about vacation — I would only not use ones that I can “save up” and use next year. Even with some effort, I only rolled over about 8 hours this year! (I’m pathetic.) But it isn’t hard for me to use my measly 10 days up!

      I’d be all for using sick leave up if it seemed like that was what the majority of my coworkers do. Perhaps I just get sick more often than the rest of them! I’m usually quite ill (bedridden) 2-3 days a year, then I typically get at least one cold that runs me down for 4-5 days.

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