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Medicine Science

Stay Home When You're Sick! 670

theodp writes "If you've got Google CEO Larry Page's billions, you can reduce your chances of getting sick this winter by personally providing free flu shots to all San Francisco Bay Area kids at Target pharmacies. 'Vaccinating children,' explains the Shoo the Flu initiative's website, 'will not only improve children's health, it will also dramatically reduce the risk of the flu spreading to adults.' But Tim Olshansky doesn't have Page's money, so he'll have to settle for trying to get it through people's thick heads that they really have to stay home when they're sick. 'Why do people still come to the office when they're coughing up a lung?' asks the exasperated Olshansky. 'Because unfortunately, there is a still a strong perverse culture that equates staying at home when sick with weakness. This is a flawed belief and should be questioned. Given that we have the tools now to complete most tasks from home, there is no strong reason to compel people to come to the workplace.' So, does your employer encourage employees to stay home when they're sick? How?"
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Stay Home When You're Sick!

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  • limited sick days (Score:5, Informative)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:19AM (#42215173)

    if you have kids you have to leave enough days to stay home with sick kids. that means you get your a$$ into the office and infect everyone else if you get sick

    my oldest kid was sick literally every 2-3 weeks at one point while in day care. he spent just over a year taking anti-biotics almost non stop

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @11:57AM (#42215729)
    Yes, it's a choice. The choice is "Do I pay my bills this month or stay home and rest?" Not everyone has a salaried job. []
  • by omglolbah ( 731566 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:00PM (#42215763)

    I can be on 100% medical leave for a -year- with full pay with approval from my doctor.
    This is the same for all Norwegian workers.

    "Sick-days" is called "Egenmelding" or "Self Message" directly translated, basically if you're sick and dont see a doctor you have 4 of those a year, up to 3 days each. If you need more than that see a doctor and get medical leave.
    After 15 or so days the company no longer pays medical leave and the state system takes over paying it.

    Hell, at the company I work we get 24 sick days a year (used in 1-7 day chunks, depending on what you need). These sick days are with full pay.
    Those with children below the age of 12 get an additional 12 (I think) days of leave to be home with sick child.

    This system works great for keeping people the hell away from the office when sick :)

  • Re:Sick leaves (Score:5, Informative)

    by srobert ( 4099 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:07PM (#42215875)

    In the U.S. there's no law requiring the employer to pay for holidays, vacation, sick time, etc. Many people get paid only for the time they spend at work and make only enough money to keep their bills paid. Remember that when you visit the U.S. and eat in a restaurant, the people preparing your food might have the flu, but they're still working because they can't afford to lose a day's pay.

  • by IrquiM ( 471313 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:34PM (#42216283) Homepage
    I'm glad I live in a area of the world were this kind of behaviour is illegal!
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:35PM (#42216309)

    Note that they can't fire you for being sick too often. However, they can fire you for calling in sick when you're not. It's a subtle distinction, and can be abused on both ends.

    That said, they can fire you for any reason - at least in work-at-will states. Sounds to me like either your people had shitty managers/HR departments or were trying to game the system. I've seen both things happen.

  • by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:40PM (#42216365)

    I'd like to point out, you're getting more sick leave in a given year, then I get vacation time (which includes my sick days) in a given year.

    This problem seems to be more of an issue in the US, and I think its blindingly odvious why that would be, given the rules in this part of the world. Working from home while sick seems like an utterly stupid concept to me, you're not resting so you'll only make it worse and last longer.

    Ontop of this, its common in the US that if you need more than 1 day, you need a doctors excuse. Sometimes its 2 days, but from my experience its usally 1 day. If you only call in sick one day the entire year, and are out for 3 days, even if you're given 10 months of sick leave, without a doctors note they'll fire you on the spot.

    I hate this country for its treatment of labor.

  • by AwesomeMcgee ( 2437070 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:42PM (#42216409)
    It's not even about the work, it's more sterile than that. I had a hospital stay, used up all my (very little) sick time, then was given 1 week of unpaid time after which they it ran into the HR's cut-off where HR rules dictated termination occurs for non-attendance, and thus I was let go. End of story. It's a matter of our culture accepting these ~2-3 days of sick time a year, what a joke. I'm not using that time for a cough, sorry, I might break something between now and the end of the year at which point I'll actually *need* that little bit of time.
  • by tantrum ( 261762 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:43PM (#42216413)

    Here in Norway it is required by law that every employee has the possibility to call in sick for 4x3 days per 12 months (not by calendar year). This is with 100% pay, no questions asked. If you're reall sick, and has to get sickleave, this will not count in on the 12 days as long as you get medical confirmation. Sickleave is also with 100% pay btw.

    In addition every parent has the right to stay home when their kid/babysitter is sick, I believe that is upto 20 days a year. This is also with 100% pay.

    A fun thing is also that if you get sick on your vacation days, you'll get replacement vacation days. This is only for the 5 weeks of required vacation, not the national holidays though.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:45PM (#42216453)

    quite frankly Businesses should consider trying to get as many folks to work from home as possible.

    My business and the business of nearly $4 trillion of the US GDP is in manufacturing. You cannot manufacture most items from home. It is quite literally impossible. You need to be at your place of business to do most useful work in manufacturing. The same applies to retail, transportation, food service and health care industries among many others. You have to be there to be useful. Add in the fact that many, many workers are hourly employees and beyond a limited amount of sick/personal time they don't get paid if they aren't present.

    IT is an exception when it comes to telecommuting. Most jobs require having a body in the office/plant for a very good reason. I know there are a lot of IT workers here on slashdot but recognize that your situation is somewhat unique compared to most.

  • by AwesomeMcgee ( 2437070 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:51PM (#42216531)
    Ironic you refute your own statement "taking a day off because of a minor cold, perhaps they should get fired" You apparently don't understand what this article is saying about when people should stay home. You realize that "minor cold" is 100% contagious and could soon be in half your other employees some of which may have poorer immune systems where that cold develops into something serious? You're belief in firing people over this is precisely *why* we don't stay home, meanwhile you're saying you won't get fired?

    On a side note, I was fired from a job after a hospital stay had me out past my PTO, 1 week unpaid after the 3 days sick time ran out and they canned me. So sorry but not everywhere will avoid firing people for getting *really* sick, and you're suggesting firing people for getting mildly sick, so frankly, screw off.
  • by thomasw_lrd ( 1203850 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @12:52PM (#42216551)

    My wife is a nurse, and yes they are not allowed to call in sick. It's an automatic write-up and that's if you have a doctors note stating you were sick. I'm sure it's close to termination if you don't have note.

  • Re:Sick leaves (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <> on Friday December 07, 2012 @01:24PM (#42217009) Homepage Journal

    In Europe your statutory holidays days (those mandated by law, currently 28 days in the UK but that includes public holidays so more like 25) are for holidays and nothing else. In fact if you get sick on holiday you get that time back, even if you happen to be on a tropical beach in the Caribbean at the time.

    Sick leave has no mandatory minimum but the company has to go through a process to fire you if you take lots of time off for illness, they can't just summarily dismiss you. Well, at least that is the case for salaried workers, contract workers don't have as much protection.

  • If you are in the US and got fired because you used up your sick leave and hit some arbitrary cutoff set by HR for unpaid leave that was less than the statutory amounts your former employer is opening themselves up for a lawsuit and Federal fines. The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles you to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year for illness or medical conditions that leave you unable to perform your duties: []

  • Re:Uh, nice try (Score:3, Informative)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:04PM (#42217561)
    Really?? I haven't had the flu or a cold for .. I don't know when the last time was. Probably over 10 years now. I'm 54 and don't do any of that crap. However, I do ride a motorcycle and am outside all year round in the fresh air. Never had a flu shot, never worry about door knobs or touching my face. Couple of weeks ago I dropped my cigar onto a concrete patio in a public park, reached down, picked it up, blew the dirt off, and put it back in my mouth.

    The last time I had the flu that I can remember was over 20 years ago. I remember it because I crashed my motorcycle in Sept. and it was the first year I didn't ride my bike in the winter. At the time .. I lived in Maine. And yes, I rode my motorcycle all year round, even in winter as long as the roads were clear and the temps were above 15F. Can't count how many times I got home from work, soaked to the skin because it rained and I didn't have a rain suit (and still don't). I also was outside a lot shoveling snow. I now live in Phoenix, and still ride my motorcycle all year, except not in the summer when it's above 105. Instead of shoveling snow, I do yard work and golf.

    Maybe it's your over-zealous attitude towards cleanliness that's the problem. Maybe your body just doesn't know how to fight disease anymore. Maybe if fewer people weren't such germphobes things like the flu wouldn't be as bad.
  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @02:36PM (#42218019) Homepage Journal
    ...this sounds to me, as a European. When we are sick, we simply stay at home. A social insurance we obligedly contribute to pays the salary, after the first three days ( which, at least in Austria, the country I live in, are paid for by the employer, as regulated by law and trade-union agreements ). The tone of TFA seems like coming from another planet...
  • Re:Uh, nice try (Score:5, Informative)

    by wadeal ( 884828 ) on Friday December 07, 2012 @03:51PM (#42218991)
    You blame someone else? How is you not doing anything about losing your rights anyone's fault but yours?

    What have you personally done to stand up for your rights? Have you taken your concerns to management or talked with your union (if part of one)?

    As an Australian I cannot begin to fathom what it must be like to live in that shit hole over there - you work for nothing, with no rights, 90% of people are fucking broke, half your country is retarded and refuses to allow public healthcare so all those poor people stay sick and poor and while all this happens you allow your country to spend TRILLIONS on defence - while people die from basic medical conditions that would cost a small percentage of your defence budget!?!?

    Do you even get how fucking mentally handicapped your entire country seems? AND IT'S PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO ARE TO BLAME FOR NOT DOING ANYTHING.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe