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View Poll Results: How often do you call in sick to work?
More than twice a month 1 0.30%
Twice a month 2 0.60%
Once a month 13 3.90%
Once every two months 32 9.61%
Once every three months 42 12.61%
Once every four months 27 8.11%
Once every six months 63 18.92%
Once a year 64 19.22%
Never 71 21.32%
Other 18 5.41%
Voters: 333. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 01-19-2010, 05:19 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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How often do you call in sick to work and how many of those days are you actually "sick"?

Title pretty much says it all.

Personally, I average once every two or three months...probably closer to once every two months. 75% of the time I'm either not sick at all or I have a very minor cold/allergy/stomach ache that serves as a convenient pretext. The times I fake it's most often because I'm so behind in some aspect of my personal life that I just need a day at home to catch up; very, very occasionally I just want a day to stay home, order in Chinese, and watch TV all day.

For the record, my job does not allow me "personal days" - you're either sick, or your using a vacation day. (There's a little more leeway if you occasionally have to leave an hour early or something, but I've almost never used this.) Luckily, they also don't require a doctor's visit if you call in sick. I don't think faking being sick is justified, but I also can't honestly say I feel too guilty about it. I pay attention to how often the other employees at my level call in sick, and make sure I stay within the average or better-than-average range.
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2010, 05:33 AM
Noone Special Noone Special is offline
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About once a year, when I'm literally too wonked out to do any productive work. Since I can work from home (Software Engineer), I will do that occasionally if I'm waiting for a technician, etc., but also in cases where I'm sick but capable of working; it's company policy that if one thinks they may be contagious then they are encouraged -- nay, required -- to work from home that day. I'm not counting those days as "calling in" since I am working.... Also, those happen maybe another couple, three time a year -- it's not like I work from home a day every week or something.

ETA: To the second part of the OP -- I will never call in sick if I'm not. If I'm working from home because I need to be home for some reason, I'll just state I'm working from home. If I actually take a day off working (not as a day of vacation) then yes, I really am too sick to think straight.

Last edited by Noone Special; 01-19-2010 at 05:35 AM..
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2010, 05:39 AM
Maastricht Maastricht is offline
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In my job, we can take vacation days or hours as we need to, as long as the project you're working on allows it. If you call in sick, you had better be sick; most companies emply an agengy that checks up if people that are sick more then a couple days really are sick, and they require a doctor's notice.

But then, we in the Netherlands have a lot more vacation days then you guys. This year, we have 42 days; so, 8 full weeks. Most companies offer up to 5 or 6 weeks.
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  #4  
Old 01-19-2010, 05:44 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
But then, we in the Netherlands have a lot more vacation days then you guys. This year, we have 42 days; so, 8 full weeks. Most companies offer up to 5 or 6 weeks.
Yeah...my first year at my current job I got 5. 5 days, that is. Now that I've been there over a year, I think (?) I get 10, though no one seems completely sure.
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  #5  
Old 01-19-2010, 05:58 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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If I'm missing work, it means I'm too sick to work. I've been known to give meetings while in the middle of an attack of something which apparently isn't MS but happens to share its symptoms (so I use it as shorthand).

I missed a lot of days of school in 4th grade (repeated tonsillitis) and one in 12th grade. I missed one class last semester due to a bad flu and one yesterday due to having to wait for a courier who never showed up. I've been gone home several times when I got the MS-like symptoms while already at work.

I'm one of those weirdos who tend to get sick on weekends Runs in the family, apparently, it's as if our immune system says "ok, I can get sick now, right, RIGHT? You don't have any work, right? OK, I am totally getting sick!"

Last edited by Nava; 01-19-2010 at 06:03 AM..
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  #6  
Old 01-19-2010, 06:39 AM
Caught@Work Caught@Work is offline
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I'm an Aussie, a sickie is a way of life.
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  #7  
Old 01-19-2010, 06:49 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Probably works out about once every four months or so. I have never taken an unjustified sick day in my whole life - including school.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2010, 07:25 AM
Leaffan Leaffan is offline
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I picked once every 6 months. But I only take sick days when I am indeed sick. Sometimes I've gone for a couple of years without using one, and sometimes I've been sick for 2 or 3 days in a row.

You folks in the rest of the world (outside Canada and the US) have an enviable amount of vacation time.
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2010, 07:30 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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No, mostly what we have is an enviable amount of sick days. In most jobs, if we miss a day at work due to being sick, we don't miss pay. Or if it's a week, or even two years.
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2010, 07:32 AM
corkboard corkboard is offline
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I get sick enough to actually stay home maybe one day a year, and it's usually just that I feel completely miserable in the morning with fever, chills, etc., but by the afternoon I feel well enough that I could really go to the office, but I don't. In the last 10 years in this career there have been maybe 2 or 3 days that I was actually completely healthy, but wiped out/exhausted, so I called in sick and played hooky. It's extremely rare, though.

We get something like five sick days a year and you can accrue up to 10, which just keep carrying over from year to year. I'm maxed out at 10 because I never use them.
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  #11  
Old 01-19-2010, 07:34 AM
Rodgers01 Rodgers01 is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
No, mostly what we have is an enviable amount of sick days. In most jobs, if we miss a day at work due to being sick, we don't miss pay. Or if it's a week, or even two years.
Then you have both an enviable amount of sick days and vacation time. Between this and Maastricht's 8 weeks....damn, why is it so hard to emigrate to EU countries?
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2010, 07:56 AM
badbadrubberpiggy badbadrubberpiggy is offline
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I voted about every 6 months.

I work at a hospital - I'm not medical, but we're open every weekday the hospital is open, so we don't get holidays & sick time separate from vacation - if I take a day off, it comes out of my vacation, no matter what it's for. So if I call in sick, I'm actually sick.

Fortunately, I don't get sick often.
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2010, 07:58 AM
VanillaGorilla VanillaGorilla is offline
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I replied once every year, though it might be slightly more often than that.
As you might guess I really am sick on those occasions.
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:02 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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In my previous job, I had four sick days in 25 years. In my current job, I have no sick days in 2.5 years, and I am afraid to call off sick for fear of retribution.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:11 AM
interface2x interface2x is offline
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Originally Posted by Maastricht View Post
But then, we in the Netherlands have a lot more vacation days then you guys. This year, we have 42 days; so, 8 full weeks. Most companies offer up to 5 or 6 weeks.
Man, I wish the US would finally get on this bandwagon.

I generally take a day or two for every two years so I picked one a year. My company is one of those that doesn't separate vacation and sick days so it's technically the same if I wake up one day and just don't feel like working as if I'm laid out with the flu.
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:22 AM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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Excluding most recent year (no FT job, therefore question irrelevant), I'm in very good health and I do not abuse sick days. I rounded up to once per year, "never" is not correct but I don't get sick every year either. On the rare occasions when I do get sick it's likely to be several concurrent sick days.

I have the good fortune to really enjoy what they pay me for, I have no dislike for being at work.
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  #17  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:24 AM
HongKongFooey HongKongFooey is offline
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Originally Posted by Sigmagirl View Post
In my previous job, I had four sick days in 25 years. In my current job, I have no sick days in 2.5 years, and I am afraid to call off sick for fear of retribution.
This seems to be the direction my company wants to take. You get x amount of sick days per year but don't you dare use them. I'm pretty sure the lost production from low morale has more than made up for the extra time they have people in the building. The managers I've worked for aren't known for wise decision making.

On average I use about three a year although last year I had to use five because I hurt my back.
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:34 AM
Poysyn Poysyn is offline
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I am a migraineur and I get them often. I never call in sick when I am not sick because I need to save those times for when I have a migraine...
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  #19  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:43 AM
Daerlyn Daerlyn is offline
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I will occasionally get these vicious colds that knock me out for three days straight. Since I'm working weekends right now when there is no one to cover for me, I'm less stingy about taking sick days on Fridays than I used to be. Now I'll call in on Friday, then sleep and fluidate all day in an effort to be marginally useful on Saturday and Sunday. When I worked a regular Mon-Fri shift I'd be more likely to just try and work through it and then crash on the weekends.

In my younger, wilder days, I have called in hung over, though it's been at least 6 years since I've been dumb enough to put myself in that position. I've also been known to take a mental health day every 3 or 4 months - the enviroment at my previous employer was so toxic that sometimes I really just needed to not be there for a day in the middle of the week. I haven't needed to do that in the last year since changing jobs.
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  #20  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:43 AM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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I chose 'never'. I did take a day off work to get a medical procedure last month, but I haven't called out in years.

I don't get sick anymore.


I mostly do shift work. Usually some one will cover for you so it doesn't matter if you need off for whatever reason.
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  #21  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:47 AM
The Real Regency Elf The Real Regency Elf is offline
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I said every six months although my traditional pattern is to get a nasty upper respiratory infection in either late Jan or early Feb, with a recurrence (usually worse) in March. So I have to take a few days for each time. We only get five sick days a year, so believe you me, I use them for legitimate illnesses. Last year's second bout of illness took up one of my vacation days because I blew through my sick days so fast with the first round.

Speaking of which, if this is a "normal" year then I should start coming down with something in 3...2...1...
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  #22  
Old 01-19-2010, 08:54 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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I'm self employed so there really isn't any 'calling in sick' anymore.

Thankfully I don't get sick very often. Back when I worked for other people, I was either actually sick or taking off to take care of a kid who was actually sick. Most professional jobs I've had, they let you take a sick day to take care of a sick kid.

So, maybe I was actually sick a couple of days a year; and stayed home with a sick child maybe four or five days a year.

Last edited by NinetyWt; 01-19-2010 at 08:55 AM..
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  #23  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:01 AM
An Arky An Arky is offline
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I take more time off for routine Dr. appointments than I am actually sick, which is almost never.
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  #24  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:02 AM
pbbth pbbth is offline
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My company offers a tremendous amount of time off (I get 19 days this year and get bumped up to 24 days off next year which is incredible for a company in the US!) so once every couple of months I call in sick due to insomnia. I suffer from a pretty serious case of insomnia so if I hit a point where I haven't slept for 2 days or more and I don't feel I can safely navigate the subway to get to work I call in sick. I feel very lucky having a job with a company that allows me to take that kind of time off when needed.
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  #25  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:04 AM
Winston Smith Winston Smith is offline
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I call in sick about once every two months, though I've been making an effort to call in sick more often. My company allocates 80 hours of sick time to us and posts it to our pay stubs. Before coming here, I reckon I called in sick 2-3 times per year. But the culture here encourages use of sick time as mental health time. My boss took a sick day over the summer and went golfing. The last two sick days I took were a half-day a couple weeks ago (I run a small consulting business and spent the afternoon with a client) and a couple months ago (I farted around all morning then went to a movie). I also took two sick days at the beginning of December because my son was in the hospital with pnemonia.

I left 20 hours of sick time on the table at the end of last year. I'm going to try hard not to do that again.
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  #26  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:07 AM
Sparky812 Sparky812 is offline
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I haven't taken a sick day since Dec. 2007. Albeit I've been lucky and I do have leave for other circumstances.
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  #27  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:10 AM
Rafe Hollister Rafe Hollister is offline
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I selected once every 3 months. That's usually to stay home with Rafe, Jr. Mrs. Hollister doesn't have sick time at her job. So if the kid is sick, I have to take a sick day to stay with him. That's what I'm doing today. It's rare that I'm ever sick.
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  #28  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:11 AM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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I'm able to work from home when I need to, so actual sick days don't happen often. I'd say that I take out one or two days a year (if two, they're consecutive) due to being too sick to work effectively; plus another half-day for "mental health".
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  #29  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:16 AM
tacoloco tacoloco is offline
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I can't remember the last time I called in sick. I'm not a freak of healthy nature, but I have to be really down for the count to not come in.
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  #30  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:17 AM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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Normally it's about once a year, but I've been like a sick cat this past year and called in on a few days, twice with stomach bugs and once with a bad cold. I'm pretty much always sick if I call in, but once or twice I have left work early for severe menstrual cramps/stomach discomfort, which aren't technically *illness*, I guess.
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  #31  
Old 01-19-2010, 09:35 AM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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I selected "once every 4 months".

I rarely get sick, but I do take the occasional "mental health days", which is used either

1. worrying about what I'm missing at work,
2. catching up on personal stuff that I need to take care of.

People who say "calling in sick when you're not sick is stealing from the company" have it wrong, imho. Part of the (salaried) benefit package includes a certain number of paid sick days: therefore, imho, taking a paid sick day is as morally justifiable as depositing your paycheck. Now, common sense states that you shouldn't deplete your sick days well before the year ends, but if it's December 9th and I have 5 sick days remaining and there's little chance of being sick for those 5 days, I might as well use one - especially if they don't "roll over".

Last edited by JohnT; 01-19-2010 at 09:37 AM..
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  #32  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:00 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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When I worked in an office I only called in when I was truly sick.
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  #33  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:08 AM
Oredigger77 Oredigger77 is offline
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I work for a company that combines vacation and sick days so I get 22 days a year but I like long vacations so I never call in sick. At my old company when I had sick days I never got sick and I had every other Friday off for Doctor's appointments and stuff.

So four years of working and zero sick days I went with never.
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  #34  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:09 AM
Vihaga Vihaga is offline
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Despite the fact that I haven't needed to do it in years, I wouldn't feel bad about calling in sick for a "mental health day" if I needed to, as stress and overwork can build up (for me) into mental fatigue that's just as debilitating as a physical illness. Luckily, I haven't been working as many weekends as I used to, so it hasn't been a problem in a long time, but I don't begrudge people who need to take not-truly-sick sick days once in a while.
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  #35  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:15 AM
Jack Batty Jack Batty is offline
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I picked once every three months, just on average. I've had years where I didn't call out sick once. On the other hand, I had my gall bladder go south on my last year and I was out for a week.

The latest was a nasty effing cold I had last week. I called in sick and was sick.

I have it easy though. If I want to take a mental health day, pretty much all I have to do is tell my boss that I'm taking some PTO (paid time off ... we get so many days per year to take whenever the hell we want ... but that includes holidays; if I have no PTO left on Dec 25, I either work, or don't get paid for that day).
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  #36  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:27 AM
TheFaerie TheFaerie is offline
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Once every 3 or so months, usually related to my menses. I'm rarely sick otherwise.
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  #37  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:49 AM
Walkabout Walkabout is offline
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I picked "Other", because I don't remember the last time I called in sick, but I know I have, and I will, if I'm ever really sick.

Back in the days that I had actual sick leave, as opposed to "personal days", I would probably call in a couple times a year. It was rare for me to do this if I wasn't sick, but it was usually something fairly minor that I will just work through these days. I live in fear of getting sick and losing all my vacation time. I cherish my vacation time.
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  #38  
Old 01-19-2010, 10:57 AM
BobLibDem BobLibDem is offline
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Less than once a year, so I chose Never. It's exceedingly rare that I get sick enough to stay home. Maybe five times in 31+ years.
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  #39  
Old 01-19-2010, 11:22 AM
Katriona Katriona is offline
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My company makes it easy to work from home, so I've only called in when I've had migraines that make even that impossible. Maybe 2-3 times a year, at the most.
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  #40  
Old 01-19-2010, 11:41 AM
breaking-reality breaking-reality is offline
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I get three allotted "sick days" paid at work, so I don't call in sick more than those 3 unless I'm dying. I'm usually sick when I use them, but I have ditched just to do something fun before.
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  #41  
Old 01-19-2010, 11:46 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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If I call in sick, I'm sick.
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  #42  
Old 01-19-2010, 11:54 AM
brendon_small brendon_small is offline
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I graduated college in 2008 and started a "real job" - prior to that I hadn't called in sick more than once in two years. - and that was the night my son was born, so I took a night off...

I worked from May 2008 until August 2009 at one job, used one sick day (and let my boss know the day before) because we were closing on the house we were buying and I couldn't make it a half-day due to schedules. I also missed one day because we were in a level 3 snow emergency and had no electricity, but when I called in, they told me they had given us the day due to snow any ways.

I have called in one day here, but I was pretty sick, and my theory was that I was sick and should not come in to a classroom full of kids and get them all sick, especially when they are graded on attendance as well as performance. Other than that, I dislike calling in altogether - fortunately, my current job is really giving on personal leave time (upwards of 4-5 weeks per year for sick/vacation).

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  #43  
Old 01-19-2010, 12:17 PM
Eva Luna Eva Luna is offline
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I've never taken a purely "mental health day." If I call in sick, I'm sick or otherwise not functional. It's not always something contagious, though - it could be something like a) having been up half the night with an asthma attack, and even though I can breathe by morning, I've had no sleep and shouldn't be working on stuff that could really screw up someone's life if done wrong; b) wicked chronic insomnia and/or Ambien side effects, such that I am still groggy enough that I am crashing into things by morning; c) bronchitis that shouldn't be contagious anymore with the drugs, but being asthmatic, I am still hacking up a lung.

I am stingy with my sick days - we only get 4 a year, and they don't roll over (which I think is stupid - it gives people no incentive not to call in "sick.") But one good round of bronchitis could wipe them out.
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  #44  
Old 01-19-2010, 12:24 PM
JohnT JohnT is offline
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Originally Posted by Eva Luna View Post
I am stingy with my sick days - we only get 4 a year, and they don't roll over (which I think is stupid - it gives people no incentive not to call in "sick.") But one good round of bronchitis could wipe them out.
Not only that, but you set yourself up for a situation where people will call in sick on the last week of the year. We had a situation like that a number of years ago - "everybody" called in sick and there was nothing in the P&P manual about documentation (note from doctor, etc).
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  #45  
Old 01-19-2010, 12:24 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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I get sick enough to miss work about 3 times a year. My employer doesn't distinguish between sick, vacation, and personal time - it's all considered "Paid Time Off", so there's no reason to claim I'm sick if I'm not.
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  #46  
Old 01-19-2010, 12:38 PM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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I got an award at work for zero sick days in 2008 last year (big thing around here, as I can rely on at least one person being sick every day, especially if it's a Monday or a Friday). As luck would have it, I got sick for one day in February 2009

every time I take a sick day I always get regrets over calling in sick, especially when I feel better midway through the day.

Most recent sick day (well, more like a "personal" day) was last week when I arrived home from drama practice to get a message that my wife was in hospital and was hit by a car! First thing I did (after I phoned the cab) was to tell work I wasn't coming in tomorrow, giving them the very few details I knew, and left it at that. When I got there, turned out it wasn't that serious and, aside form aches and pains, she was fine. In fact *she* went into work the next day (being an on-call substitute filling in for someone who was on a week of vacation, I supose it made sense) I felt guilty little old healthy me not looking after my injured wife at home like I expected to be doing when I called in. Next day at work I told them everything was fine while leaving out the detail of her going to work.
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  #47  
Old 01-19-2010, 01:12 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Last several years 3-4 days per year. We get ten days a year and two or less in a six month period is considered "good" and will get you an offer to buy back one or two days for cash. More than that is not a crushing issue unless it becomes a pattern and you have no medical excuse. In years past I would take the occasional "mental health day," but I now accumulate enough vacation that augmenting it with sick leave isn't necessary.

But I don't go to work sick and don't look with much admiration at those that do at my job ( I try not to judge folks in different situations ). Pretty much any cold=sinus issues=little or no sleep for Tamerlane=no work, far as I'm concerned. Sick leave exists for a reason and I have no hesitation about using it ( nor is my boss an asshole about it, thankfully ).

However those with long views at my job like to accumulate sick leave when possible as you can max out at 1040 hours and at retirement this is doubled and added to "time served," functionally adding up to an additional year of retirement credit.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 01-19-2010 at 01:17 PM..
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  #48  
Old 01-19-2010, 02:38 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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I've never worked in a place where they gave you a set number of sick days, so I've never called in sick when I wasn't. My vacation is pretty flexible, so there is no need. Like others, unless I'm really, really sick I keep up with email etc. And I get colds and such very rarely, and they always seem to happen on weekends.
Back when it was considered a good idea, I was in the 100% attendance club for a couple of years. Just from being healthy, not from coming in when I was sick - the reward wasn't all that great.
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  #49  
Old 01-19-2010, 02:47 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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About once a quarter my rectal myopia will flare up and I'll have to take a sick day. Usually somewhere in the middle of a stretch where, due to tournaments, I don't have any weekends.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:56 PM
Mahna Mahna Mahna Mahna is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
I picked other, because I only call in sick when I'm genuinely sick, which falls somewhere between "once a year" and "never".

I've been with my current employer for over seven years, and in that time I've taken a total of 5 sick days - three of which were taken consecutively when I was working in the call centre and lost my voice. It's not that I never get sick, but I guess I'm just (un)lucky enough to get sick during weekends or holidays more than I do during workdays.
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