Sick Days

  1. We have a hospital policy that if you are absent more that 5 times in a year, you have to go an entire year w/o an absence- or if you are sick again accumulate incidents culmanating in termination after x amount. I don't think I am sick excessively, but I am at 5. Now, how the heck do I stay well for an entire year? Is this a common policy? Do they really fire you?
    I want to stress again, that it takes a lot for me to call out, this year was hard because I was just diagnosed w/irritable bowel syndrome, and the days I missed were mostly r/t IBS b/f I found a med/diet regimine that controlled my symptoms---Just wanted to clarify so nobody thinks I am just slacking off.
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    About caren19

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 22; Likes: 2

    14 Comments

  3. by   BittyBabyGrower
    Do you qualify for an intermittant FMLA? I would look into that as an option, then the absent days for your IBS can't be held against you.
  4. by   nbnurse95
    We have a policy that also allows for about 5 sick days a year. But we don't have such strict conseqences. We would recieve a letter during our yearly evaluation to make us aware of our absenteeism (spelling???) and we'd be "watched". If our sick continued, we'd recieve another letter. I'm not exactly sure how many "letters" we'd get but I know that eventually we'd be placed in a program that is supposed to help us identify the problem and receive help to fix it. And THEN I think there's a chance of termination if they've tried everything and you continue to use too much sick time.
    The other thing is that the way they count our sick time is by "events". If you called in sick one day, that would be one event. If you were off for say, 1 month, that also counts as 1 event. So, if you called in one day every month thay would be separate events.
  5. by   Tweety
    That does not a bit silly. Ours is a revolving year. Within the past 12 months you can't have had more than five absences without counseling, etc. So if 12 months ago you were absent twice in that month, next month those two absences are dropped.

    Good luck to you.
  6. by   live4today
    If you are really sick, you are really sick. Our bodies don't often cooperate with our jobs. The body is NOT a perfect machine. It does break down on more than enough occasions throughout the course of our lives. If a company fires you because you were really sick, then you are just fired. Plain and simple. Is it fair? No it isn't. Nothing in life is "fair". Companies have their policies that they feel the need to stick to like glue on paper. So be it. The same people running those companies get sick too. Wonder how that happens? What on earth do they do when they are sick and sick an more sick throughout the course of their life. Having a job does NOT tell the body "you can't get sick, you'll be well or else". If we were well all the time on our jobs, doctors and nurses wouldn't be a necessity. Search for another job when you lose a job due to illness. This is one reason to own one's own business where you work for yourself. I'm trying to find one of those myself right now. I'm tired of jumping hoops to make other people more rich, and those they serve poorer.
  7. by   mtnmom
    I just left a facility that instituted a new policy in Cotober of last year - after 3 absences/occurrences (whether excused or not) one faced disciplinary action.

    December of last year my best friend of 30 yrs' husband was killed in an automobile accident (no, not his fault). i could not have fathomed not being at the funeral...my friend and I were in each others' weddings, and I had known her husband for over 20 yrs and considered him a very good friend as well. I pleaded with management not to count the event as an absence - furnished newspaper clippings and a funeral service program as proof. They very flippantly responded "sorry"...since it was not an immediate relative they would not excuse the absence.

    then we came to late March and I got bronchitis. I had to call out because of a 101-degree temp.

    So here we were in March...I had until October with only one absence to use for not only any illnesses I might have but God forbid something major should happen to one of my kids.

    Thankfully another opportunity presented itself that worked out for the better all around. My new job has a manager that is very family-friendly. A very small pay cut - but I am free from the sweatshop mentality that I just left, and feel like a huge burden has been lifted.

    how do employers think they can treat professionals like this when there is a shortage of personnel? And furthermore, what if patients at this hospital knew what was really going on...that nurses were very often coming to work ill - this hospital delivers more babies than any in the US but on any given day there are a few nurses working that shouldnt be there because they have contagious symptoms.

    Go figure. :angryfire

    Thankfully I have found a good situation...
  8. by   stidget99
    Being a nurse is definitely cause for having more "sick" days than most other professions. We are exposed to so much. If it's not someone coughing in our faces then it's injury/stress related call outs. I think that in some cases, most cases of illness could be grounds for filing a worker's comp case. Do employers not realize that if we get a bug, say the flu or something, that we more than likely picked it up "in the line of duty". One time a co-worker was exposed to TB from a pt. Sure enough, she came down w/ TB. Was out of work for a very long period of time. IMO, that is most definitely a work-related "injury".

    Policy at my job....absent for more than 6 times in any 6 month period of (rotating time) is call for being called into the office for counseling. After that, one needs to bring in a doctor's excuse for each absence. If absences continue to be "problematic" even w/ the excuses, they still have the option of terminating you.
  9. by   TiffyRN
    We have a similar policy to what most have said; warnings start after 3 absences, some sort of probation after 5 absences. It's counted in a "rolling" year, so your absences "fall" off one year after they occur.

    The point being I'd probably be on probation most of the time if they really kept track but they don't. Sometimes they catch up the accounting and I'll get a verbal or written warning, oh well. . . Most of my collegues are in the same boat. I used to worry until I realized so many nurses were on the edge like I was. I'm not really one to call in much but they seem to add up. No one's been fired where I work for excessive absences in the 2 1/2 years I've been there except one tech. They spend way too much orienting us and sending us to internship classes to just up and fire us for absenteeism. Not to say some places wouldn't do that but it's silly. Especially to expect one to be without absences for one entire year. Check out that FMLA thing, I know one of our RT's uses that as she is a severe asthmatic

    One feature of our attendence policy is that if we are calling in for an illness that is contagious or with fever and we bring in a doctor's note the absence is only counted as half. This applies to all the units in the hospital that deal with immunocompromised patients (I'm NICU). Only fair since we won't allow a mom to see her baby if she has a fever. I think it ought to be completely forgiven since the unit would prohibit me from coming to work even if I wanted to.

    They also allow us to "work off" absences; two extra shifts will erase one absence. When they get really desperate they will allow us to erase them one for one.
  10. by   PicklesRN
    Quote from TiffyRN
    We have a similar policy to what most have said; warnings start after 3 absences, some sort of probation after 5 absences. It's counted in a "rolling" year, so your absences "fall" off one year after they occur.

    The point being I'd probably be on probation most of the time if they really kept track but they don't. Sometimes they catch up the accounting and I'll get a verbal or written warning, oh well. . . Most of my collegues are in the same boat. I used to worry until I realized so many nurses were on the edge like I was. I'm not really one to call in much but they seem to add up. No one's been fired where I work for excessive absences in the 2 1/2 years I've been there except one tech. They spend way too much orienting us and sending us to internship classes to just up and fire us for absenteeism. Not to say some places wouldn't do that but it's silly. Especially to expect one to be without absences for one entire year. Check out that FMLA thing, I know one of our RT's uses that as she is a severe asthmatic

    One feature of our attendence policy is that if we are calling in for an illness that is contagious or with fever and we bring in a doctor's note the absence is only counted as half. This applies to all the units in the hospital that deal with immunocompromised patients (I'm NICU). Only fair since we won't allow a mom to see her baby if she has a fever. I think it ought to be completely forgiven since the unit would prohibit me from coming to work even if I wanted to.

    They also allow us to "work off" absences; two extra shifts will erase one absence. When they get really desperate they will allow us to erase them one for one.
    That is a policy with some sanity in it. Seriously, it is.

    I've been reading through these posts and I'm really shocked at the rules some have to follow. While I fully understand there has to be something in writing for those that abuse the system, it's still pretty stupid to put nurses in a position where they want to find employment elsewhere or they risk being fired.

    In my own case if my company has a policy I don't have the slightest idea what it is. We don't abuse it and nobody says anything to us. If we had a policy such as what some are writing I'd be in a world of hurt. I have only been ill once in the last year but I have called in more in the last year than I ever have before. For me it has been injury issues. Running into walls, car accidents, and various other injuries. However I also go to work as soon as I can. It's no easy task to work with a bruised lung and broken wrist but if my company is going to be good to me it is only fair that I do what I can to be at work doing my job.

    My company doesn't bother anyone about absences if they are valid.
  11. by   Thunderwolf
    Nurses ARE a different lot. We ARE exposed to sickness much more than other professions. I always had some difficulty accepting the rationale for being held on the same level as other professions who do not have our exposure. It makes better sense to go after nurses who are identified as abusing it...like thru a peer review...and then counsel and/or sanction THEM...because really, that is why an attendance policy such as this is quite often initiated in the first place. In a hospital, with many different positions (skilled vs unskilled, professional vs nonprofessional), it is hard for me to accept being placed in the same category for attendance as the young guy who scrubs pots in the kitchen who may have less of a work ethic who decides to blow off work if so choses with a nurse who comes in to work who takes care of the sick on a daily basis and be sanctioned for illness due to exposure. Doesn't sound right. But hey, I don't right the policies...the suits in their protected offices do.
  12. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from Thunderwolf
    It makes better sense to go after nurses who are identified as abusing it...like thru a peer review...and then counsel and/or sanction THEM...because really, that is why an attendance policy such as this is quite often initiated in the first place
    I'm not sure that would be such a good idea. Opens up the door for discrimination and vindictiveness. Certain people are GOING to miss more - those with migraines, endometriosis, other chronic health issues. You and I may recognize that they are not abusing anything, but nursing is not well known for treating its own very well - particularly from the management level and especially if illness is involved. Although it is not ideal, it is much safer to apply the same standards to everyone.
  13. by   mmiriamasher
    I think we are lucky here in Israel. We get 30 days sick leave off a year that can accumulate, that is, if you don't use it one year you can use it in following years. If you take more than one day you have to bring a note from the doctor, but you cannot have more than one day off a month without a note from the doctor and not more than six such off sick days a year. Of these you can have six days off a year for a family member (first relative only).
    If you did not use up to one third of your sick leave that has accumulated by the time you retire, you get paid 8 days for every year you have worked, and if you have used up to two thirds of your sick leave, you receive 6 days for every year you have worked.
    We also have 26 working days vacation a year which you can accumulate for two years (i.e. up to two months).
    Maternity leave is 12 weeks, but we can take leave without pay for up to one year after birth.
    The hospital can't fire us for being sick.
  14. by   dogwalker
    Quote from caren19
    We have a hospital policy that if you are absent more that 5 times in a year, you have to go an entire year w/o an absence- or if you are sick again accumulate incidents culmanating in termination after x amount. I don't think I am sick excessively, but I am at 5. Now, how the heck do I stay well for an entire year? Is this a common policy? Do they really fire you?
    I want to stress again, that it takes a lot for me to call out, this year was hard because I was just diagnosed w/irritable bowel syndrome, and the days I missed were mostly r/t IBS b/f I found a med/diet regimine that controlled my symptoms---Just wanted to clarify so nobody thinks I am just slacking off.
    Sounds familiar and quite ironic. We work around sick people 24/7 and yet we are not supposed to be sick! If I were you at this point, I would make sure I had a doctor's note for any future absences. These policies actually encourage people to come to work sick and expose their colleagues and their patients to illnesses that they shouldn't be exposed to. As for the IBS-I had it in my thirties as a floor nurse. Nicotine and etoh are irritants, so try to reduce or eliminate those if you use either or both. Best wishes. I empathize with you. Dogwalker

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