… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Sick Days

This past week I have been fighting a cold. It’s been over a year since I last got sick so I’ve been trying to milk the experience for all it’s worth. “I’m sorry I didn’t return your email right away, I was in the bathroom trying not to cough up a lung” or something like that. Honestly though, I’m too busy alternating between chugging orange juice, going through package after package of tissues, and slathering on the antibacterial gel.

It’s that time of year again and in the close confines of an office environment, it only takes one sick person and soon the whole office is ill. Now, fortunately or unfortunately, the worst of my cold happened while I was already out of the office on vacation (lucky me!) but there is always one or two people who refuse to stay home, even when they know they should.

So here is my list of the top 5 ways you know you should have called out sick:
1. Your co-workers start complaining about tripping over your IV that the doctor insisted you at least take with you when you checked yourself out of the hospital against their wishes.
2. Your co-workers all called out sick in order to avoid catching what you have.
3. You find the prospect of standing up and walking over to the copier 15 feet away too daunting because you might pass out from the effort.
4. The cashier at the coffee shop gives you the drink on the house to avoid taking the money from your hands.
5. Your manager follows you around the office with paper towels and Lysol so they can wipe down everything you touch.

All joking aside though, coming into the office when you are too sick to work is a serious concern. I know some people do it because they truly don’t think they can be gone for even one day. I assure you that isn’t true. Except in rare cases, NO ONES job is so critical or important that you can’t miss a day or two to recover from an illness. Things can wait and others can step up to help out.

However, I know some people come in for more personal reasons. They can’t afford to miss time from work either because they are afraid they will lose their job or otherwise they won’t get paid. And if they even miss one day of pay they won’t be able to pay their bills. Often this means they can’t afford to go see a doctor or pay for medicine anyway.

And that isn’t right. As HR professionals and managers, I know we can’t and shouldn’t try to solve all our employees problems, but there are things that we can do to help. Employee Assistance programs, Paid Time off Donation programs, Special sick leave amnesty during the flu season, company-wide flu shots, and I could go on and on. Get creative, and get resourceful.

Your people can’t do their best when ill, and that means your company can’t either. So pass the tissues and Dayquil and let’s get back to work!

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