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Feel bad for phoning in sick at work? Don't be!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 24th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Flu and cold season is approaching, and many people in the workplace are going to fall ill. While many employers discourage calling off work at the last minute, most agree that a worker that comes in with a cold and flu to spread it to others is doing no one any favors. So if you're sick - don't be ashamed to phone in sick.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - "People get really, really ticked off at co-workers spreading germs in the workplace. There's nothing worse than being Typhoid Mary," Annie Stevens, a managing partner at ClearRock, a Boston leadership-development and career-transition consultant says.

Thanks to technological advances, email, Skype and teleconferencing make it easier in for some employees to stay home and still participate in critical meetings or decisions, However - experts warn, a person may end up being drawn into doing work they don't take time to get well. It's also not advisable to make important decisions while a person has a high fever.

Generally, the 24-hour rule pediatricians preach to parents, that a child with the flu should stay home from school or day care at least 24 hours after the fever and symptoms go away, usually holds true for adults as well.

Flu sufferers can infect others a day before symptoms set in. Bystanders can catch the flu from a person standing as far as six feet away, usually via respiratory droplets spread when the sufferer coughs, sneezes or talks.

There is the problem of explaining your condition in the morning with a phone call when you say you won't be able to make it in. Some employers argue with the employee and accuse them of lying, or that they don't sound sick.

On the other hand, many supervisors say they appreciate and respect a simple statement that an employee is too ill to work. Giving too many gross details, or trying too hard to sound sick with "a very artistic fake cough, or saying, 'Oh, I have such a headache I can hardly talk,'" can spark suspicions that an employee is lying, Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder says.

Just 85 percent of employees say they are always honest when they call in sick. And 1 in 7 women has lied about being ill, compared with 1 in 5 men, according to a 2011 survey.

Adding to the complex problem, some employers have policies that encourage sick people to come to work, offering cash or gifts for perfect attendance.

In contrast, other employers have stopped handing out rewards for showing up, in favor of allotting employees a specified number of paid days off for any purpose.

To guard against people coming to work during a potential flu outbreak, some employers have prepared blanket no-fault sick-day policies that would temporarily allow employees as many paid sick days as they need without subtracting any vacation days.

"If you have the flu, stay home. Just stay home, until we all get better." Therefore, if you have chills and fever, and are sneezing and coughing - phone in sick and get some rest.

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