Thursday, October 27, 2011

Are you checking in on your “sick” employees? Maybe you should be (or not)

According to a recent survey by, 29% of employees admit to playing hooky from work, taking “sick” days when they were really running errands or having fun with friends or family.

Despite this number, only 28% of businesses report that they  check on “ill” employees. Of that 28%:

  • 69% require a doctor’s note
  • 52% call the employee
  • 19% had another employee call the employee
  • 16% drove by the employee’s home

Let me suggest a radical alternative to going Inspector Clouseau on your employees. Get rid of sick days (and vacation days, and any other days off) and replace them with paid time off.

PTO is a flexible arrangement that provides the employee a set number of days off per year to be used for any reason (sick time, personal days, vacations, or anything else). Employees like PTO because of its flexibility. Employers like PTO because there is no time spent verifying the legitimacy of sick days and other time off. PTO, however, is not without its downside. For example, it encourages sick employees to come to work because they do not want to burn a paid day off they can use for a vacation later. Employers also lose control over how, why, and even when employees are off.

Depending on your employees’ work ethics and absentee records, and your management’s level of comfort with a more flexible leave policy, you might want to consider whether shifting to PTO makes sense for your business.