Is Calling In Sick (When You’re Not) Okay?

annaliza at kununu

Feel a fever coming on? Like, summer fever? The kind that pops up on a Friday before a long, holiday weekend and suddenly you feel a tickle in your throat that just might keep you in bed tomorrow. (No one has to know you mean your poolside sun bed.)

Admit it. This thought has crossed your mind, not only on summer Fridays but a bunch of other times when your personal life just matters more than what you do to pay the bills. Some have a crisis of conscience. Some think they’ve earned it. Either way, it might make you feel better to know that missing work is sick daysometimes not such a bad thing. In fact, when people go to work but aren’t performing at their best, what The Integrated Benefits Institute calls “presenteeism,” it costs the country nearly $230 billion a year.

So cut yourself some slack, taking time off might just be more productive than showing up to work when you’re head’s not in the game. Here are 5 times that might happen:

1. The day after a big sports event. According to a poll by The Workforce Institute, roughly 16.5 million US workers considered calling in sick after Super Bowl Sunday (25% of which were managers or bosses). The real reason? Staying up too late and drinking to much–which leads us to another popular reason…

hangover2. Because of a hangover. Sure sporting events are a big reason for day-after call outs, but so are holiday parties, office outings and even birthday celebrations. Hangovers happen and functioning on one takes a special talent. Here’s a few rules for calling in sick when you’re actually hung over.

3. After a breakup. You can’t think straight. You’re checking your phone every two minutes looking for that “I’m sorry” text. Your attention is focused on the last words either of you spoke and no amount of going over it in your head helps you understand. You and Productivity are not on the same page.

4. When you’re just stressed out. Fox News reported a few years ago that 83% of Americans are under stress in the workplace. With a stat that high, at least you know you won’t be even remotely alone on your stress-day off.

5. To catch up on sleep. According to a 2008 National Sleep Foundation poll, nearly one in three US employees say that daytime sleepiness mucks up their routine activities at least a few days each month. And we all know yawning is contagious…

I’m sure you can think of your own personal reasons for using sick days that aren’t necessarily medical. And if the guilt still gets to you, maybe you need to find a workplace with a better paid time off policy. Some major companies allow unlimited time off all together–sick days and vacation included. What does your company policy allow? And what does your company culture tolerate regardless what the handbook says? Share your thoughts on sick days and PTO practices at your company. You’ll help people understand some unwritten time-off rules and, best case, help some readers who might be sick of their jobs…

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