Sick Days

As I write this, I was supposed to be driving with my dad to Omaha for the weekend, but instead I’m home sick. When my dad was in the Air Force, he was in Strategic Air Command (SAC), so for his birthday this year, I gave him a weekend in Omaha to go see the Strategic Air & Space Museum (formerly the SAC Museum). But last week Kristin caught a cold, and then I picked it up a few days ago. So instead we’ve rescheduled the trip in a couple weeks.

The worst part about being sick is taking a sick day from work. At WashU, you get five “unverified” sick days each year. If you’re sick more than five days, you either need to take vacation days or get a note from your doctor to prove that you were sick. Of course this requires that I go to my doctor, which is a waste of my time and his time. First, how often are you able to get in to see your doctor the same day you call? And even if you do, you will have to pay your co-pay and waste the doctor’s time so he can look at you and tell you what you already know.

Plus, if you’re close to your max number of sick days, there is a disincentive to stay home when you’re sick. You would think employers would want their employees to stay home when they’re sick so as not to spread the cold (or whatever the illness is) to co-workers. Instead people come in coughing and hacking all over everything.

A better policy is one I had at a previous employer. If you’re sick stay home. Don’t worry about how many days you’re sick. If someone has an above-average amount of sick days or there is pattern that indicates abuse, the problem is addressed individually.