Sinus infections, headaches, sore throats, and body aches happen. At some point in time, everyone gets sick. It’s part of life. When you’re truly sick all you want to do is stay in bed. Going to work is not an option. That’s why sick days exist.
Sick days are designed for days when you’re sick and you won’t be productive at work or if you are contagious. Sick days can also be used when you have a medical emergency, severe weather, car accident, or the loss of a family member. Typically you forgo your pay as sick days are basically excused absences from work.
Unfortunately, people abuse sick days. So here’s what you need to know when you legitimately are calling in sick to work:
- Honesty Is The Best Policy – Whatever happens don’t lie to your employer. Don’t make up an illness so you can have a free day. You’ll probably get busted and employers know how to spot a liar.
- Time It Correctly If Possible – Do your best to take a sick day on a random mid-week day. If you happen to be sick the day after the Super Bowl or on January 1st, your boss will probably be a bit suspicious.
- Know What Your Employer Can Ask You – Any concerned employer is going to ask you what’s wrong when you call in sick. It’s common courtesy. They may ask you for a doctor’s note as proof of a doctor’s visit, but they cannot ask for any additional information. They also cannot ask you about a medical condition protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- When To Call In Sick – Call in to work as soon as you can. Ideally this is first thing in the morning. Don’t call at 8:59 if you’re supposed to work at 9.
- Try To Telecommute – Hopefully you’ve already talked to your boss about telecommuting. It’s a growing trend in the workplace. If you’re sick, you still might be able to log a few hours of work from the comfort of your couch.
- What To Say To Your Boss – Let your boss know what’s going on. Keep it short and sweet. You don’t need to reveal too many details beyond the fact that you’re ill. Your boss should trust you. It’s always a good idea to let them know when you expect and hope to return to work.
Hopefully your boss likes you and is an understanding person. If you’re sick and need to stay home to recuperate, don’t feel guilty. Just be honest and do your best to return to work ASAP. And most importantly feel better!