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View Full Version : Taking sick time at your job.



scruffziller
09-17-2003, 01:40 PM
Different employers seem to have different takes on how they handle this situation. Working at Wal-Mart you can lose your job if they think you were abusing your sick time, even if you really were sick. Sick occurences count as unexcused absences. If you take more sick time slots than you are suppose to have(unexcused absences) you can be fired. SO now we have people coming into work, because they will get fired if they don't, spreading their germs around, and everyone else is not coming to work because they got sick. How is that for a system!!!!! However, my friend works at a conveience store and he calls in sick all the time when he isn't sick because he can get away with it. Evidentily, this company doesn't want to get sued for repercutions for the concequences therein. So they don't do anything. I wonder if WAL-MART knows they can afford to take the chance with what they are doing. Any thoughts????

Exhaust Port
09-17-2003, 02:00 PM
In the last 6 months my company has started cracking down on sick time abuse. We build a bank of sick time from which we can withdraw against for assignments at work. So if you have a 4 day assignment you'll burn more sick time than a 2 day assignment. The time in your bank is what you've earned during your time working at the company. Even though you earned the time the company is cracking down on people who they feel are abusing the sick call. If someone earned the time off by working here for 6 years then how can the company say you can't use that time?

7 sick calls in a rolling 12 month period and your on the street. I know people have been "abusing" the sick call, I'm probably even guilty of it, but its only because of the poor work rules. It can be tough to get time off for appointments, non-immediate family funerals (ie grandparents), family illness. A lot of times its just easier to call of sick than jump through hoops and try to get permission to get off work. I know that I was advised by my manager that all I could do was call off sick in order to attend the funeral of a friend. I'm more than willing to burn the sick time but now they can hold that sick call against me in their tier of punishment.

They issued a company a notice saying to stop coming into work sick then followed that up with their announcement of the different penalites levels for different number of annual sick calls. Nice. :rolleyes:

You've got to love how management looks to save money in these tough times by looking for cuts by the labor force. Work more for less and no more benefits.

plasticfetish
09-17-2003, 02:24 PM
Any thoughts????
Yes ... unionize (http://www.ufcw789.org/).

scruffziller
09-17-2003, 02:40 PM
Yes ... unionize (http://www.ufcw789.org/).
At Wal-Mart........Boy, I wish........:rolleyes:


In my post I was wanting to know what could be going on differently in the 2 companies. Why the other doesn't do what the other one does. Perogative or something else??

Exhaust Port
09-17-2003, 03:08 PM
I agree Unionizing is the best bet to fixing issues as such. I'm not the biggest fan of unions at times but as I've learned over the last few years that they are a necessity for "blue collar" or trade labor forces. We're currently in contract negotiations and as per the Railway Labor Act we have to remain status quo and not challenge the norm. For us this sick call procedure was always been in our contract but never utilized so we can't call foul. The plan is the new contract will change this. 16 months of negotiating so far.

stillakid
09-17-2003, 03:13 PM
The best option is self-employment, as I've done all my life. You never have to ask anyone for a day off and when you're sick, you don't have to bring in a note.

Of course the downside is the absence of a guaranteed check and paid-for health benefits, but for me, the upsides make it worth it.

scruffziller
09-17-2003, 03:32 PM
The best option is self-employment, as I've done all my life. You never have to ask anyone for a day off and when you're sick, you don't have to bring in a note.

That is the problem, I am the worst boss to myself that I can be. I don't make myself do anything.:D

plasticfetish
09-17-2003, 03:34 PM
In my post I was wanting to know what could be going on differently in the 2 companies. Why the other doesn't do what the other one does.
Well, I suppose it has something to do with Wal-Mart having more to lose by being more flexible. First and foremost, they stand to lose money. It doesn't seem to matter to them that they would probably lose more money in the long run by forcing employees to work while sick. I highly doubt that the company you work for is concerned with "the long run" anyway. Their current main concern seems to be ... generate profit to open more stores to generate profit ... and so on. Secondly, it would cost them in time and effort. It would seem that it's much easier for them to simply make a harsh and lazy rule, rather than approach each and every situation as if it were in fact unique. Though, I would suspect that Wal-Mart's management force couldn't handle having to really speak to it's employees anyway ... I suppose they'd rather shout at them over the load speakers all day long. Thirdly, it's a matter of control. By instituting these kind of harsh policies, they test your weakness. If you fail to resist, then they know as a company just what they can and can not get away with. How much they can and can not "get away with" directly effects the first point ... profit.

I've worked retail. My wife has worked retail and currently works for a small "specialty" grocery store chain. We've experienced just about every kind of weird corporate "mind trick" that you can imagine. In every case, if you resist ... they fight back. If you organize your resistance and hit them where it hurts the most ... in their profit margins, they will fight but concede if it saves them hassle and money. If you don't resist, if you accept their policies and assume that you have no power as a worker, then you can look forward to a lifetime full of abuse. Likely ending with you having nothing and them, if they manage to stay in business at all, the strength to continue abusing workers for a long, long time.

Here's what I really think. If a company does not respect it's employees, (and by assuming that every sick employee is potentially out to cheat them, they clearly don't trust or respect you) then it truly can have no respect for it's customers. You work there, but you're also a member of your community. Bad word of mouth kills bad businesses. Nothing could hurt a companies reputation like letting their customers (your community) know just how little respect they really have for them.

- good luck brother.

Exhaust Port
09-17-2003, 04:16 PM
This problem probably stems from a few bad apples. We all know there is a minority in every work force who do their best to cheat the system by abusing different programs. Well, their boss steps in to stop the abuse of sick calls by those employees and usually the company backs the manager up with a policy. Instantly the whole work force is under the gun because a couple idiots didn't care to work for their money.

I can understand the problems of sick call abuse for management but such policies against its use usually hurt more good employees than stop the bad ones from cheating the system. The only way to be fair with any policy is to blindly inforce it against every employee. If they don't they open themselves up to discrimination lawsuits and such.

This is my one big negative issue with unions, they protect every member no matter what they've done. They'll fight tooth and nail to keep the company from letting one of their own go. This does nothing but tick off the good employees and sours the relationship between the union and management. Sure at some point any good union leader knows when enough is enough but it seems at times that it takes a while to get to that point. Man, I've heard stories.......

As plasticfetish said, it has a lot to do with the company respecting the employees and not assume that all the employees are out to cheat them. This is where good middle-management comes in. We have some excellent ones and they understand the situation. They've even said that they are only out to get the bad applies even though all of us are under the gun. Every time I've been called in they've wiped my record clean and apologized for the incovienence that the policy as generated. Now I realize that not every company is run as nicely but this is the way I think it should be done.

bobafrett
09-17-2003, 05:23 PM
I had built up quite a lot of hours of sick time while I worked at Wal-Mart. I ended up using almost a week and a half worth when I fractured my elbow. I do see why they have to do that though, as we had a maintenance man who would call in sick every other Friday (the one right after payday). They eventually let him go, but it left those of us who were good employees fearing this wrath that if we were actually sick X number of times, we would lose our jobs.

I still keep in touch with one of the guys I worked with at Wally World, and he works 80 hours between 2 jobs. Well he comes down sick, and calls in. Management had the nerve to badger him, berating him with questions when all he wanted was to get better. I know this guy and his record of great attendance speaks for itself. It's just too bad that a few people make it harder for those of us who really are sick.

dr_evazan22
09-17-2003, 07:52 PM
I used to be a manager of a clothing store and teh problem with someone calling out sick is that if someone called out then we were short staffed. We weren't allowed to have extra people on because payroll is the greatest controllable expesnse a company has.

So it goes right back to 2 things that plasticfetish said: The company doesn't give a dam about you, and profits.

There's only 1 person that will look out for you, and that's you.

This company I was with, about 2 yers before I left integrated all paid time off (vacation, sick; I forget if they included floating holidys though) into PTO - Paid Time Off. Any accrued time was added to your total with every paycheck. They didn't cut what we were able to earn, say 5 sick days per year (40 hours). That worked out really well because the majority of employees wouldn't take their sick time, pretty much for the reason I said earlier about staffing. More companies should be this forward thinking.

Another thing that I'll say is that when you read most policies in Handbooks and Policy and Procedure Guides it usually say "If you plan on being absent you must give at least 2 hours notification". notice it doesn't say anything about being sick.

I have the chance to win tix to go to a NASCAR race this weekend in Dover DE. I doubt I'll win, but if I do, then I'm calling out of work. I'll tell them I won't be in.

Good luck and don't do anything that will get yourself fired. If you do try this and action is taken, then use the Open Door policy that should exist. Keep going up the ladder until you get a satisfactory explanation.

Darth Jax
09-17-2003, 09:48 PM
i've had plenty of friends abuse sick time to do whatever they pleased. myself, being a salaried employee i don't care that much; i get paid regardless of whether i'm at work or not. but i've not called in sick in the 4 years i've been in my current job. being in a service occupation with appointments scheduled weeks or months ahead of time, trying to make up for unplanned absences is very tough.

PTO is a great option but is very tough on smaller organizations. because it's money owed to employees it must be offset on the books by liquid assets. i know several people that are told to take PTO or simply lose it as the company tries to reduce the amount of assets they must keep available to cover it. Denver is in the middle of a huge budget crunch and by taking away a couple of paid sick days from the cities police and fire departments the city is set to save several million dollars next year.

EricRG
09-17-2003, 10:07 PM
Don't wonder why people call in sick at Wal*mart since what they pay employees is laughable. I've said it before and I'll say it again, why anybody would work for that brain-washing sweat shop, I'll never understand.

bobafrett
09-18-2003, 01:27 AM
Don't wonder why people call in sick at Wal*mart since what they pay employees is laughable. I've said it before and I'll say it again, why anybody would work for that brain-washing sweat shop, I'll never understand.

Well, I for one worked there, because I could fit the overnight shift around the other three jobs I was working at the time. I was making a pretty decent wage when I got fired, and I dated a girl who had been there almost 8 years and the last time I saw her she was bringing home almost $20 an hour. Anyway, I don't want to get into a talk about Wal-Mart any longer, as it just ticks me off all the lazy people they still have working there.

scruffziller
09-18-2003, 10:34 AM
Well, I suppose it has something to do with Wal-Mart having more to lose by being more flexible. First and foremost, they stand to lose money. It doesn't seem to matter to them that they would probably lose more money in the long run by forcing employees to work while sick. I highly doubt that the company you work for is concerned with "the long run" anyway. Their current main concern seems to be ... generate profit to open more stores to generate profit ... and so on. Secondly, it would cost them in time and effort. It would seem that it's much easier for them to simply make a harsh and lazy rule, rather than approach each and every situation as if it were in fact unique. Though, I would suspect that Wal-Mart's management force couldn't handle having to really speak to it's employees anyway ... I suppose they'd rather shout at them over the load speakers all day long. Thirdly, it's a matter of control. By instituting these kind of harsh policies, they test your weakness. If you fail to resist, then they know as a company just what they can and can not get away with. How much they can and can not "get away with" directly effects the first point ... profit.

I've worked retail. My wife has worked retail and currently works for a small "specialty" grocery store chain. We've experienced just about every kind of weird corporate "mind trick" that you can imagine. In every case, if you resist ... they fight back. If you organize your resistance and hit them where it hurts the most ... in their profit margins, they will fight but concede if it saves them hassle and money. If you don't resist, if you accept their policies and assume that you have no power as a worker, then you can look forward to a lifetime full of abuse. Likely ending with you having nothing and them, if they manage to stay in business at all, the strength to continue abusing workers for a long, long time.

Here's what I really think. If a company does not respect it's employees, (and by assuming that every sick employee is potentially out to cheat them, they clearly don't trust or respect you) then it truly can have no respect for it's customers. You work there, but you're also a member of your community. Bad word of mouth kills bad businesses. Nothing could hurt a companies reputation like letting their customers (your community) know just how little respect they really have for them.

- good luck brother.Thanx PF!!!!!:happy:
That is pretty much what I was thinking, I was just afraid it was true.:D
Reading what you have to say gave me alot of advice in other areas as well.


I don't want to get into a talk about Wal-Mart any longer, as it just ticks me off all the lazy people they still have working there.
Yea, it also seems to me that if they know you are one of the real hard working ones. They tend to try to "milk" more of you than you can give.

dr_evazan22
09-18-2003, 08:11 PM
Unfortunately, it's easier to squeeze 10% more out of the top performers then it is to get the bottom performers to give another 10%. That in itself is a shame.

The fact the management ALLOWS the bottom performers to stay is the real problem though.

scruffziller
09-19-2003, 07:17 AM
The bottom performers to give another 10%.

Or even just getting them to give the first 10%.:crazed:

Dar' Argol
09-19-2003, 09:40 PM
Working at Wal-Mart you can lose your job if they think you were abusing your sick time, even if you really were sick. Sick occurences count as unexcused absences. If you take more sick time slots than you are suppose to have(unexcused absences) you can be fired. SO now we have people coming into work, because they will get fired if they don't, spreading their germs around, and everyone else is not coming to work because they got sick. How is that for a system!!!!!

Actually Scruff, you have X amount of sick hours that build up over time. After you reach 192 Sick hours that rolls over into Personal Time. When you call in sick the first day you lose, unless you have Vacation/Personal time. Then on the 2nd day your sick time kicks in. I've been told its a protection thing incase you have to use STD/LTD. To me it sounds like BS. Anyway, if you are absent for 3 or more consectutive days, you need a doctors excuse to avoid the "unexcused Absence". Kinda sounds like being back in school doesn't it. And you can't even have your Mommy or Daddy call in for you :D. So, there is a way around the penalty for being sick. Problem that I always had was I would only every be out sick 1 day. So it was no use for me to burn a vacation or personal day, just so I could get rest and get better. In the 5 1/2 years I was there, I called off twice. Once for my duaghters Pink Eye, and the other was a week I needed to take off b/c of Kidney Stones. But I still lost those first days.

I have NEVER heard of a policy like that, wherer you have to lose the first day. ANd trust me, the unexcused crap doesn't always work. I've known people who called off at least a dozen or so time in a year, without taking a Personal/Vacation/Sick day and they STILL ended up getting a raise at evaluation:rolleyes:.

scruffziller
09-20-2003, 12:29 PM
Actually Scruff, you have X amount of sick hours that build up over time. After you reach 192 Sick hours that rolls over into Personal Time. When you call in sick the first day you lose, unless you have Vacation/Personal time. Then on the 2nd day your sick time kicks in. I've been told its a protection thing incase you have to use STD/LTD. To me it sounds like BS. Anyway, if you are absent for 3 or more consectutive days, you need a doctors excuse to avoid the "unexcused Absence". Kinda sounds like being back in school doesn't it. And you can't even have your Mommy or Daddy call in for you :D. So, there is a way around the penalty for being sick. Problem that I always had was I would only every be out sick 1 day. So it was no use for me to burn a vacation or personal day, just so I could get rest and get better. In the 5 1/2 years I was there, I called off twice. Once for my duaghters Pink Eye, and the other was a week I needed to take off b/c of Kidney Stones. But I still lost those first days.

I have NEVER heard of a policy like that, wherer you have to lose the first day. ANd trust me, the unexcused crap doesn't always work. I've known people who called off at least a dozen or so time in a year, without taking a Personal/Vacation/Sick day and they STILL ended up getting a raise at evaluation:rolleyes:.
Yes, Dar I was aware of all the details that you have laid out here. And know of several people that are sick all the time with doctor's excuses.:frus:
I think what was happening was that they were picking on this one guy because he is sick alot, has migranes ever since he was a kid but is known for speaking his mind so he gets a double wammie for this stuff. I think a few times he had been sick and/or took time off for vacation/funerals etc. and the managers just happened to misplace his doctor's excuses/time off permission slips. One time he was off for 8 days and the managers lost the form and POW he was slapped with 8 days unexcused. So if he calls in again sick (for a while now) he is out the door.

Jedibill
09-21-2003, 10:19 PM
At my work we get 6 sick days after 1 year after 5 years you get 8 these are paid sick days and you can use them anytime, but if you use up all of your days like sicktime vacation ETC we have a point system that come into play as long as you use sicktime or vacation time you get no points for being out but if you have no time left and you call in sick and you are out for a full day you get 1 point if your out half a day you get 1/2 a point get 8 points and your fired so its really in your hands if you have a job or not. plus if your 1 min late for work or leave early you get 1/2 a point come in late and leave early get a full point so you gotta watch out.

Exhaust Port
09-21-2003, 10:53 PM
Just curious, how long to the points stay with you?

scruffziller
09-22-2003, 12:22 PM
Just curious, how long to the points stay with you?
I will have to check our handbook as to what it says. I miplaced it for now. Anyone else have one handy?

Jedibill
09-22-2003, 05:13 PM
point will fall off in one year from the time you get it.so get a point on september 22, 2003 it will fall off september 22, 2004.

Exhaust Port
09-23-2003, 12:19 AM
That's pretty reasonable I guess.

dr_evazan22
09-23-2003, 03:30 PM
That's the standard period for corrective action, that after a year it falls off. Just so you know, there is usually some kind of language in corrective action policies that says that the company can go to the next level for another infraction if it feels there is a habitual problem.

Example: you call out and get a verbal. Then maybe your late, and get another verbal. Then 3 months later maybe your friends call you more frequently then usual, requiring CA. Instead of giving a verbal, which is what would be called for, they say you have a history of performance problems and are instead giving a written to show the seriousness of the situation.

Rogue II
09-23-2003, 03:38 PM
Where I work, is a bit different than anywhere else. If we are sick, we go to the doctor. The doctor determines if we need to go home and rest or gives us some Motrin and sends us back to work. But that's the Air Force for you. We don't get charged for sick leave and I don't have to pay any medical bills. And we still get our 30 days of leave per year.