Two organizations that employed me had rules for
absenteeism. One was quite strict in that you could
choose certain number of days off with pay. Requests
should be made in advance.
Importantly, attendance records were criteria for
advancement and ‘perfect attendance’ was clearly
and widely recognized and rewarded.
Thus, even when you are ill, with a flu or fever,
people were expected to come in, and ,if you could,
visit the company nurse who could dispense some
over the counter remedies.
Another employer left it to supervisors to decide whether
it was in appropriate to report not coming in to work and
exposing everyone to the spreading of illness. Interestingly,
it was recorded but did not seem to make a difference in
assignments or promotions. [We were to call the supervisor
and report illness. As many sick days as needed were
granted. I do not know of any specific limit.]
in the workplace, noting its costs to employers to be on the
order of half a billion dollars. Since absenteeism can cost
in productivity and revenue, time off for illness has varied
treatment and risks. Many places seem to go the route of
PTO paid time off for vacation, special event or illness.
Others provide an annual number of sick days one is
entitled to take.
Various medical organizations have investigated personal
illness and its impacts on the organization and the individual.
While it may not be part of policy, one might argue a case
- encourage people to take preventative measures
- limit contact with others to avoid spreading; even
stay home 24 hours when symptoms are real and invasive.
- supervisors should be proactive at every level in protecting
individuals and noticing symptoms
Recently, this writer was beset with a sinus like infection.
I limited contact as much a possible for as long as spreading
symptoms existed. It meant sending condolences to events
I was expected to attend. It is important to be the first
example of proactive behaviors and enforce similar
recommendations on others. It should start in the class
room and grad school research labs.
Then, practical policies of dealing with this perennial
issue of staying home when you are sick can be the general
policy, with appropriate checks and balances when
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