A guide to call in case of illness
Calling in sick can be a source of anxiety for workers who are wondering when to call, what to say and …
Calling in sick can be a source of anxiety for workers who are wondering when to call, what to say and how to say it. They may wonder if they are really sick enough to take a day off or worry that it will hurt them to miss a shift.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way employers and employees approach sick leave. Coming to work with a cough or fever might not just be reckless, it can be dangerous. Additionally, some companies’ sick leave policies have changed to allow time off for mental health needs or to care for sick family members.
“It’s become a new landscape for all businesses,” says Amy Mosher, director of human resources for isolved, a company providing human capital management software.
To navigate this new normal, keep reading for answers to all of the following common questions and concerns about sickness calls.
– What to say during a call in case of illness.
– What are the good excuses for taking time off from work?
– Can I call a sick person if I am a teleworker?
– What should you call in case of illness? Can you send an SMS in case of illness?
– What your boss is allowed to ask.
– Can you get fired for calling in sick?
– Can your boss force you to go home if you are sick?
– How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect sick leave?
[See: 16 Low-Stress Jobs]
What to say during a call in case of illness
Calling a sick person doesn’t have to be a long process. Some workers may be inclined to work around the problem by saying that they will try to do it later if they feel better, knowing that the chances of this happening are unlikely. It’s best to just say you won’t be in it and leave it at that.
“You don’t need to go into (a lot) of details,” says Debora Roland, vice president of human resources at CareerArc, a social recruiting platform. It’s good to explain why you won’t come, but you don’t necessarily have to share the details of your illness.
It is also a mistake to give long explanations of why you cannot come to work. It might actually make it look like you are exaggerating or lying.
However, if you are sick for some reason related to COVID, it makes sense to let your employer know. Some companies have improved their sick leave policies that may apply in these situations. Also, if you are likely to be away for an extended period of time, it is best to let your boss know as soon as possible.
What are some good excuses for missing work?
Ideally, you should check to see if your business has a health insurance policy before you get sick. However, in the absence of this, a good rule of thumb before the pandemic was to always stay home if you thought you were contagious, says Amanda Augustine, a career expert with the TopResume CV writing service. “An employer wouldn’t want you to spread your germs,” she says. Vomiting is another clear sign that it’s time to stay home.
Now, in the midst of a pandemic, employees can stay home for much less. At issolved, for example, the number of people with access to sick leave increased 65% from last year, according to Mosher.
A cough or sore throat could make people make themselves sick, and employers can encourage workers to be extra careful and stay home in these cases.
However, faking an illness to stay home or avoid work might not be in your best interest. Taking unnecessary days off could exhaust your employer’s goodwill and put your job at risk. “Employees should be aware that they are absent for a legitimate reason,” says Domenique Camacho Moran, partner and manager of labor and employment practice at the Farrell Fritz law firm in New York.
The rules may be different for caring for sick family members or children who learn remotely, but again, many companies have relaxed their policies to accommodate the unusual circumstances of the pandemic. Check with your human resources office or employee handbook if your company has a formal policy.
[See: 12 Medical Emergencies You Need to Address Right Away.]
Can you call in case of illness if you are a teleworker?
For those who work remotely, the decision to call a patient may not be so clear. “What we’re seeing is remote workers are working sick,” says Mosher. She adds that coughing workers may choose not to go to the office for the day while working from home.
While some people suffer from an illness for working from home, Augustine doesn’t think employees should feel pressured into doing so. “Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean you have to give up using your sick days when you need them,” she says. “If you’re sick, you’re sick. ”
It makes sense to skip the job if you think you won’t be productive. There is little benefit to you or your boss if you are unable to concentrate or get the job done.
What should you call in case of illness? Can you send SMS in case of illness?
While we refer to the practice of calling when sick, text or email is perfectly acceptable in many work environments.
“When it comes to the best mode of communication to convey such a message, think about your relationship with your boss,” Augustine says. If you normally send text messages to your employer, sickness texting would be acceptable. However, if communication is normally over the phone, sending an SMS may not be appropriate. Also, don’t ask someone else in the office to deliver your message.
However you get the message across, be sure to give your employer as much notice as possible. “Calling at 9:30 am to say you don’t arrive at 9 am is not correct,” says Camacho Moran.
What your boss is allowed to ask
Your boss’ natural reaction may be to ask what’s wrong, but you don’t have to provide details about your illness. Often, employers ask partly out of concern for your well-being and partly to assess how long they will need to cover your shifts or workload. To address the latter concern, let your employer know when you expect to return, if possible.
Depending on your company policy, you may need to provide a doctor’s note confirming that you are ill if you are away for several days. Roland says many companies use a three-day rule and request a doctor’s check-up after three days of absence.
“We decided (eventually) that we would request a doctor’s note for (an absence of) 5 days or more,” says Mosher. Employees can also provide proof of a positive COVID-19 test. Or, those caring for a family member who is ill with COVID can sign an affidavit declaring it.
If you need to take extended medical leave, you may need to complete paperwork to qualify for the employment protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act, more commonly known as FMLA. However, even in these situations, medical information should be kept confidential by your company’s HR department and need not be disclosed to a supervisor or co-workers.
Can you get fired for calling when sick?
Workers who belong to a union may have some additional protections, but for most people the answer depends on the laws of your state.
“If you work in a state with employees at will, they can fire you for anything that’s not illegal,” Augustine says. This means that unless you qualify for legal protections under the FMLA or the Americans with Disabilities Act, nothing prevents an employer from firing you for being ill.
Employers may not be inclined to fire an otherwise good worker who occasionally gets sick, but if they feel like you are faking an illness, they may not be so understanding. “Abuse of sick leave can lead to dismissal,” says Camacho Moran.
Can your boss force you to go home if you are sick?
Absolutely, says Roland.
If your boss thinks you’re sick, they can send you home. In that case, you might have been better off making yourself sick to begin with. “It’s just good etiquette to stay home and take care of yourself,” says Roland.
How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting sick leave?
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many companies to make immediate changes to their sick leave policies, such as extra days off or paid time off for those staying at home with sick relatives. However, this could also have ramifications in the future.
“I predict that for years and years to come, we will be susceptible to coughs,” Mosher says. This can make employers more willing to allow workers to make themselves sick. Now that remote working has been proven successful for many jobs, companies may also be willing to offer this option to workers who may be under the weather but not so sick that they need a day off.
For now, however, employers may be more understanding of workers who report illness, and employees may be more aware of the need to stay home when they are not feeling well. If you must make yourself sick, don’t be afraid to do it. Just be sure to give your boss as much notice as possible and follow all company policies regarding documentation.
More American News
Should you participate in a mental health day?
16 low-stress jobs
The best jobs for work-life balance
A guide to call in case of illness originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 10/18/21: This story was posted at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.