thread: What's your attitude to sick leave?

  1. #19
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber
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    Jan 2006
    Port Macquarie, NSW

    My attitude towards sick leave has changed over the years. When I first started working I had little compunction towards taking a sickie. But I think as I've grown, I've become a little more responsible about it. I think being part of a good team helps - I don't like to let them down by chucking a sickie.

    I think it's really important not to go to work sick. I really hate doing it, and up until a year ago I wouldn't. I'm a nurse, so there's nothing that looks worse than having some nurse walk in and cough and sniffle all over your child! When I transferred to the job I have now, I had four years worth of sick leave saved up - I hardly ever got sick. In our award, we are entitled to "Carer's Leave" to look after children or immediate family, and that leave is deducted from your sick leave entitlement - so in other words, it's like a tacit acknowledgement that it is okay to use your sick leave to look after your family. Anyway, during DW's last pregnancy, she got so sick during the first trimester she had to have three months off work, so I drew pretty heavily on my sick leave to look after her and the two eldest girls. Well, I was in the midst of a fairly bitter dispute with my manager at the time, and lo and behold, she slapped me under a managed sick leave policy, because she had never bothered to classify all of the sick leave I had been taking as "carer's leave" and she managed to make it look like I had a problem with absenteeism. So I had to show a medical certificate every time I needed a sick day. Which was fine at the start, but now my GP has a week-long waiting list for appointments, she won't write my medical certificates in retrospect because by the time I see her, I am well again. So for the first time in my career, I did exactly that - I turned up to work as sick as a dog, coughed and sneezed all over my patients, and got an absolute mouthful from one of them who was an ex nurse herself for being at work sick.

    For a profession that knows so much about illness, I am constantly amazed how many nurses and nurse managers expect you to be a martyr and turn up no matter what. Case in point - another girl was pregnant here at the same time as my DW, and she also hyperemesis. DW did the right thing, saw her OB, and was certified off work for three months, gave her manager notice. This other girl kept on coming to work, lasting an hour before she'd be in a bed or on a lounge somewhere - sometimes just slumped over in the corridor - vomitting her heart out. It was disgusting, and incredibly unprofesional, and the rest of the team had to pick up the slack every day she was there. And yet, they complained about my DW taking time off and asked why she couldn't just "push on" like the other girl. I mean, FFS, at least my DW was getting replaced with someone else who could actually work more than an hour at a time!

  2. #20
    Registered User

    Jan 2006

    I don't get paid sick leave so I go to work.

    Actually, if I'm not about to die, I go in, even with paid sick leave. I have to be sent home 90% of the time I'm sick. Kidney infections, migraines, sciatica, psychosis... I've gone into work with them all. Viral tonsillitis too, but that's cos I'd had to miss work the week before because of a hospital admission and couldn't afforrd any more time off. If I can't get out of bed, then I call in sick. Otherwise, I go in.

    My stupid boss has a new rule - we have to call his mobile if we're sick, not our immediate line manager. We all know it's so he can have a go. Not impressed. If he does that to me, I walk, affordability or no. (I'm the only one employed by the company who can do my job atm so he's gonna be in trouble!)

  3. #21
    BellyBelly Member

    Aug 2008

    One way or another, I always end up taking it. I'd honestly rather I didn't, but things happen. Miscarriages, bike accidents, morning sickness... they're the legit ones.

    I have chucked the odd sickie in my life, but here's the kicker - only when I worked in sausage factory type jobs where I felt like I was being squeezed to get every available drop out of me and getting nothing in return. Last year I did it in the early part of the year because I'd been asked to take work home (and I don't earn the kind of money that makes this worth it) So I figured they could compensate me for it. At the same job, I would also push out legitimate sick leave by an extra day or two just go get a day off to make appts, because time off at this job was near impossible.

    Meanwhile, in quality jobs where my whole person is nurtured and looked after and I function as part of a quality team... I'd never dream of it. At my current job, they often call me on a sick day, and order me to take the next day off as well! They really value having healthy and well rested staff. And it pays off.

  4. #22
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2009

    I think more people should take it when they are sick! Nothing annoys me more than turning up and work and having a colleague coughing and spluttering all over the shop. I don't care if you have popped two codril and are 'soldiering on'. You are still contagious and I do not want it!

    "Thank you for your purchases, and here, because you were lucky to come in today, have a free sample of Influenza"

  5. #23
    Registered User
    Add Kazbah on Facebook Follow Kazbah On Twitter

    Sep 2006
    Dandy Ranges ;)

    I currently have over 200 hours accrued in sick leave from the first 5 years I worked at Telstra, and I haven't accrued any more since then when I've been on AWA (it's all manager's discretion). My father really taught me the value of sick leave - he had accrued over 5 months leave in his work at ATO, and when he had his pacemaker put in, and mum had a full hysto, he took it all off ... it was so less stress to know that they still had a full wage coming in during that time!!!!

    I take mine when I need to - the only time this year I haven't gotten a certificate is when the midwife has said there's no point to see me cause they can't do anything, and to have bed rest. With my MI, my doc is more likely to over-prescribe time off than under - I often have to go back and get a certificate that I'm OK to work!

    If you need time, you need time. When team managing I can tell how my team are travelling by the amount of sick leave. When they are happy, I'm sending them home. When they are unhappy, they're calling in with a stubbed toe. It's a good measure of work levels and team happiness.

  6. #24

    Nov 2007

    Audax and Kazbah - you've hit the nail on the head I think! I hate taking sick time in this job, because I really do love it so much, the work and the environment, and I don't want to let them down. Whereas in my previous job, it didn't matter how much they cracked it at me for taking legitimate sick days - I felt undervalued and abused, so I wasn't going to give anything 'extra'.

    Someone said their work has changed sick leave to personal leave - I love that idea! Sometimes you really do just need that day to just do nothing, or go out and grab a coffee with friends and see a movie. They should be called Sanity Days