300 + hours of sick leave, why I use them when I’m sick!
Yes, I have hundreds of hours of sick leave and that is a result of being pretty healthy and being in position for a long time. Like most people I’m leery about using my sick leave as I want to go to work and get things done. Also, I don’t want to be the employee who’s always calling in sick. The thing is-I’ve earned this benefit and it doesn’t benefit anyone to come in coughing, feverish, and distracted. Which is what I do until I hit my threshold of feeling like sh$t. I am writing this post on Wednesday as I stay home from work sick as a dog. I tried to fight through it but I’ve been sick since last week after back to back conferences, travel, too little sleep, and a night in a cold and muddy corn maze being chased by people with chainsaws. I had planned on sticking it out until Friday when I’m taking a scheduled sick day for doctor’s appointments but, I just felt too crappy.
This leads me to a cultural observation: Americans are really afraid to call in sick. Afraid. Because there is a stigma with placing self first before the organization. But isn’t my staying home and getting healthy a good thing? I’ve earned my sick leave. Every time I’ve gone into the office sick there has been a ripple affect. Every time one of my colleagues would come in sick we would all get sick. In an atmosphere of job instability and fewer benefits people are forced to put work before self but I would argue that this isn’t a balanced way to approach work and health.
In the past 8 years I have had varying emotions when it comes to my job. Right now I’m really enjoying it and am working with an amazing team of people and clients. I appreciate a lot of things and one thing I am very appreciative of my sick leave benefit. I don’t take it for granted and am very grateful for being able to take time off when I’m ill. I am almost at the point where I will have accumulated the maximum number of sick hours and will be able to donate the extra hours to other people who work in my company(which is totally fine!)
I’ve lived in a couple of other countries and have friends living in other countries that have benefits that many Americans dream of. Those benefits include: tons of vacation time, sick leave, health insurance (don’t get me started!), maternity leave, and educational benefits. American employers seem to have the idea that paying too much, treating people well, and allowing people time with their family would have a detrimental affect on their work and the work place. I would argue that that argument is ridiculous. I have all of those benefits and would even be able to use all of my vacation time added on to unpaid maternity leave when I finally have a shortie. I am having a hard time with changing my job because the benefits are so good (and right now I really love and appreciate my colleagues and clients). Part of the reason my short/long-term goal is to be self-employed is that being self-employed will be the only way I will have the same level of work-life balance, etc. that I do now (obviously working hard as hell in either scenario).
Do you have a lot of sick leave? How many hours? Do you use it or are you nervous to?
Do you agree with the idea that Americans are nervous about using sick leave?
Stay healthy people!