Sick days traditionally involved one of two scenarios. One was the worker calling in sick because they literally could not function and needed to stay in bed. The second was a similar situation except that it involved a sick child that could not stay home alone. According to the New York Times, those days of calling in sick and recuperating are nearly gone.
The new reality
These days, it is possible and generally expected that a sick person stay home, but they are still online at least part of the day (perhaps answering emails in the morning to keep workflow moving and checking back in-between curative naps). The worst case scenario is workers simply slogging through the day as best they can because they want to be perceived as a motivated employee or are a contractor that cannot afford to the lose the hours.
Some employers fighting to give time off
Some more enlightened employers out there generally want the employees to stay away and to try avoid working, including instituting sick days that do not roll over to the next year automatically.
There is also a broader definition of reasons to not work that generally involve personal day or what some are calling “personal emergency days.” This addresses the perceived need for deception to justify not being able to work, enabling the worker to take the day without revealing private information about themselves or a loved one.
Is your sick day policy an effective one?
It is generally recommended that employers be quite clear and compliant about the sick day policies and then try to ensure that everyone is treated equally. Many consider it a real boon to have a work from home option or a partial workday due to sickness, but keeping workers fresh and healthy serves the companies’ best interests in the long run. Employment law attorneys can help ensure that a business’s rules are effective and efficient.