What is your sick call policy?

  1. Our unit is having a huge problem with sick calls. We have a few select employee's that are calling in sick on average once or twice a week. One even calls in to find out if it is busy and if it is she says that she is sick. We have been trying to come up with a better sick-call policy. The only policy that we currently have is that you must call in to the charge nurse and the dept manager, but if the manager is not in, they can just leave a message on voice mail.
    So, any ideas??? Thanks!!!!!!
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    About at your cervix

    Joined: Dec '00; Posts: 291; Likes: 34
    Labor, Delivery, Post Partum and Newborn RN
    Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in OB, Post Partum, Home Health

    18 Comments

  3. by   dansamy
    OMG! Do they not have bills to pay? I currently just tech PT at a local hospital while I'm in school. My H's income pays our normal regular bills, but my pay helps with childcare costs and school supplies. I simply can't afford to call in once or twice a week.
  4. by   DutchgirlRN
    We have to call in to the charge nurse a minimum of 2 hours before the shift starts. More than 5 call in's in 6 months warrants Dr.'s excuses for the next 6 months.
  5. by   Gompers
    I believe our hospital policy is that if we call in more for more than four incidences in a six month period, we get a verbal warning. Six times in six months, a written warning. Eight times in six months means no raise that year. More than ten in six months is grounds for termination. And incident is any number of days off without returning to work. If you call in one day, work the next, and then call in that same week, it's two incidents. Three days in a row is one incident, etc. More than three working days in a row, we need a doctor's note or to get an OK from employee health. We have to call at least three hours before our shift is to start, and we have to speak to the charge nurse ourselves, no messages. If suddenly need an extended time off, we must speak to the nurse manager.
  6. by   DelightRN
    We have to call in by 5 am for days and by 3 pm for nocs. I think if someone calls in consecutive days it is counted as one occurrence, but if its 3 consecutive days that requires a physician's note. Physician's notes are also required for absences around holidays and in cases of inclement weather.

    More than 4 occurrences in a 6 month period warrants counseling and an action plan, with progressive discipline for further absences. Of course there's FMLA available for people with intermittent/chronic illnesses or ill family members.

    I think our call out system could use some work. Right now, we all have to take call. So if someone is not coming to work, they will call the unit. If the NM or ANM is here, they'll take the call. If not, we call the NM to find out who is on call, and then we call that person in. I think it would help streamline the process if we had a nursing supervisor or staffing specialist that could take the calls and contact the appropriate person, but we're such a small facility that we don't have an off-shift sup or a staffing office.

    We've also had problems with frequent call outs, but I try to be positive about it... it is influenza season, and we have had a ton of sick kids. I try to believe that every absence is genuine. And if not... if someone needs a mental health day, its not really my business why they're out.
  7. by   mercyteapot
    Although my project doesn't enforce it, the official policy is that if you call in more than 3 times a quarter, you can be terminated. We also have a policy of needing a doctor's note if you're out more than 3 days in a row, which we do enforce. We have had two women that used to call off constantly- one of them was protected by ADA (I believe she had a mental health diagnosis). Neither of them were given new contracts when their original ones expired.
  8. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    In our facility, the policy is five incidences or twelve days total in a year... rates a meeting with admin to find out why one is sick so much and "how they can help" us not be sick. During our annual performance reviews, our sick time is one of the topics for discussion. At my last one, the manager said, "Oh, you've only had two sick days in over a year. Good for you!" She was flummoxed when I told her I wasn't sick, I was on Worker's Comp! (So those two days don't count.) And when we do call in sick one of our managers will call us at home "to see how you're feeling, and to see how long you think you're going to be sick". Borders on harassment. Hello-o-o-o-o we work with SICK PEOPLE!! :angryfire :smackingf
  9. by   LPN1974
    My facility is supposed to watch for a "pattern"....like calling in sick all the time with your days off or on the weekend.
    They also like for us to maintain several sick days on the books, but I see some use up their days as soon as they earn them.
    HowEVER.......some get watched for a pattern and some do not.
    It's who you are on my job.
    And, also, at 5 days we have to have a doctor's excuse.
    Last edit by LPN1974 on Feb 27, '05
  10. by   nursemary9
    Hi

    We have a rather strict policy.

    1. You must speak with the Charge Nurse to call in & it must be more then 4 hrs. before the shift starts. If is less, you are given a "late"call & you don't get paid.

    2. If you call in on a weekend, you need to make up that day on t he next weekend (which would have been your weekend off).

    3. We get 6 sick days a year. After two incidents of call ins, you get a written warning. I think you get 3 warnings & you are OUT!!

    4. You notice I say incidents-- that is not the same as number of days.
    For instance if you are sick on Monday & call in & you are still sick on Tues & Wed & call in, that is all ONE incident, but 3 sick days.

    5. If you are off more then 2 days in a row, you need a MD note to come back.

    Some Managers--like mine-- are very strict about these, others are rather lax. Not fair, but what can you do. Someday, someone will file a grivience!!

    Mary Ann
  11. by   NurseCard
    We MUST call the charge nurse on duty, and then call the nursing supervisor on duty. We are NOT allowed to leave a voice mail message.

    We are lucky that we have actually had very few nurses calling in sick. Last year when the big flu wave hit, it seemed like EVERYONE called in at least once, myself included. I was out for about a week, actually.

    BTW, "at your cervix", I LOVE your handle! Very creative! :chuckle
  12. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from janfrn
    And when we do call in sick one of our managers will call us at home "to see how you're feeling, and to see how long you think you're going to be sick".
    I think it does more than border on it. I think it IS harassment. What do they do if you don't answer? When I am sick, I take calls from no one. I turn the ringer off on my phone and let voicemail pick up. If I felt good enough to talk to people, I would probably feel good enough to work. When I am sick, all I want to do is rest so my body can fight off whatever has me down. Taking things like that into consideration should be what puts the "nurse" in nurse manager. I would expect someone who did not understand the first thing about illness, recovery, or health to do something stupid like call sick people at home and harass them or asking them how to help them not be sick as much (how dumb a question is that?). I would like to expect more from nurses, but I would be consistently disappointed. I just consider myself fortunate that my NM has more sense than that.
  13. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from nursemary9
    1. You must speak with the Charge Nurse to call in & it must be more then 4 hrs. before the shift starts.
    Yes, because we all make a habit out of getting up in the middle of the night (or day for night shifters) to see if we are feeling well...
    Where do they find these people to come up with such policies??

    There was another poster that mentioned a "deadline" of 3pm for night shift and 5am for day shift. Excuse the **** out of me, but what is that double standard all about? Night shift doesn't sleep between shifts in those managers' feeble minds?
  14. by   dbsn00
    At my facility you must call in at least 2 hours before your shift starts, 3 or more days out requires a Dr.'s note. However, we also have a problem with the same group of staff who call in repeatedly (Mondays are a very popular call in day). Staff is supposed to receive verbal warnings then written then suspension (although I've yet to see this happen)!

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