Wednesday, January 16, 2008

let them eat doctor's notes...

I overheard 10 seconds of a phone conversation today...

Administrator: ...they need a doctor's note. The bottom line is, the only reason you should be absent is if you're too ill to be here. If you're too ill to be here, you should be at the doctor. They're going to say, "Well, that costs me money" et cetera, but..

Other person: [inaudible]

Administrator: Well, I 'm just telling you what you're likely to run into... Okay. Okay, bye.

I'd like to be sanguine about most things, but this fries my eggs. The idea that "If you're too ill to be here, you should be at the doctor" is ubiquitious, and it's complete and utter bull****.

99% of the time, this policy only applies to hourly people who
a) don't get paid when they don't work, and
b) are least likely to have health insurance.
So they not only lose a day's wages, they have to drag themselves to a doctor, pay *another* day's wages for the doc to give them the magic piece of paper that says "Yes, you're vomiting/have cramps/have a cold/have a migraine/what-the-hell-ever."

I say again, it's bull****. To pretend that a grown person needs a doctor to tell them when they're too ill to work is patronizing and mendacious. The policy is completely for the employer's benefit -- so employee's don't abuse the sick leave policy. (Because they will, but why? Because the crap wages they earn aren't enough to make them feel invested in the organization. And because they're human -- I've seen plenty of $100K/yr employees take a "health & sanity day". In fact, I bet they do it *more*, since they don't lose money when they do it.)

The thing is, I like this administrator. He seems like a nice guy. But does *he* have to bring a doctor's note when he's sick? I'm willing to bet he doesn't. I bet he gets 10 days of sick leave per year to use as he likes. If he did go to the doctor, would it cost him a day's pay? Damn right it wouldn't -- he has health insurance coverage. Does he consider himself intelligent enough to know when he's got flu, headache, etc? I think so.

As I think I already mentioned, that policy is bull****.


At Wed Jan 16, 09:06:00 AM PST, Blogger unca said...

I couldn't agree more and, yes, the double standard makes it even more irritating. I'm happy to say that over the years, the place I work has loosened the rules on this kind of stuff. I believe that there used to be a rule in place that if you were sick for more than three days you had to go to the doctor. There was also a place on the form for: name of Dr. consulted and nature of illness. In these darker days, one of the guys I worked with had a bad case of hemorrhoids so he simply said, "ill" on the form. They asked for more information so he wrote back, "bleeding rectum." Then he was told that was too much information.

At Wed Jan 16, 05:40:00 PM PST, Blogger Alan said...

My company combined sick leave and vacation into a common entity called Personal Time Off (PTO). If you need time off, just take it. No one cares about the reason.

At Thu Jan 17, 12:07:00 PM PST, Blogger Lisa said...

what makes me mad about this policy - as a mental health professional - is that there are actually many ways that you can be hurting and not fit for work that don't fall under the "too sick to work" category.

Maybe it's the 15th anniversary of your mom's death and you're feeling sad; maybe you just ran over your cat (this happened to me right before work once); anyway, you get my drift. You wouldn't go to a DOCTOR for that, but it still doesn't mean you should be working.

Alan's company does it right.

At Thu Jan 17, 12:15:00 PM PST, Blogger jay are said...

my husband's company (a major corporation) doesn't even track sick days unless it's something significant and you know you'll be out for a week or two weeks or whatever. If you're sick you just tell your boss---hey, I'm sick---and you come back a day or two later when you're feeling better. And if someone's abusing it, it almost always comes to light. The lack of stress about being docked at work for being sick probably makes a person--mentally-- less likely to get sick and less likely to stay sick, it seems to me.

At Tue Jan 22, 06:02:00 PM PST, Blogger SoozeSchmooze said...

Nurse checking in here...and as a healthcare professional...we have paid time off like Alan...but if we use more than 24 hours in a three month period we get a written councelling about sick time use...most of us don't care we know when we shouldn't be there!!!

At Wed Jan 23, 11:13:00 PM PST, Blogger bfoxy37 said...

I'm sure others have commented on this on other blog postings but what about the personal nature of cell phone conversations overheard? I was waiting in the pediatrician's office the other day with my daugther while another mom was talking on her cell phone to a man who was not her husband and whom she said she loved etc... etc.. and talked like she didn't realize that all of us could her this conversation.

At Fri Jan 25, 01:56:00 PM PST, Blogger bryan torre said...

bfoxy, did you happen to get her phone #?


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