Why Your Sick Policy May be Causing Actual Harm

by Evil HR Lady on March 23, 2020

Dr. Kathleen Moncrieff is a family physician who spends her time off sewing masks for herself and her colleagues, as there is a global shortage. They aren’t as good the commercially made masks, she admits, but they are better than nothing. She’s doing everything she can to help keep her community safe and healthy–and she has some sage advice for employers: Stop requiring sick employees to get doctor’s notes

At work, Moncrieff–along with legions of medical personnel–is overwhelmed with patients. Remember, it’s not just Coronavirus patients out there. People still get bladder infections, cut themselves trying to make avocado toast, and have cancer. So, this pandemic is on top of her regular workload. She shared her feelings in a private business group, where we’re both members. She granted me permission to share her request for all employers:

To keep reading, click here: Why Your Sick Policy May be Causing Actual Harm

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Judith March 23, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Agreed! Our policy requires doctor notes after 3 days. One time employee offered note and I didn’t take it or even read it. If you are an employee, I and my org should be able to trust you. Yes, individuals cheat, but as EHRL says, this probably wouldn’t be the only bad behavior exhibited by someone cheating sick time.

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grannybunny March 23, 2020 at 6:33 pm

My agency requires “written documentation” for absences exceeding 3 work days. What they don’t tell you is that the written documentation can be a statement by the employee — or the employee’s spouse — stating that the employee was incapacitated from working during that period of time, without the necessity of obtaining a doctor’s note.

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Elizabeth West March 23, 2020 at 8:31 pm

I can see requiring one after an injury, or for a job where the person has to be somewhat fit to do the actual work, but for most office jobs, it’s total hooey. Especially now!

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Janice P March 24, 2020 at 5:23 pm

A friend of mine was a driver of a public transit bus. He told me that if he took off a sick day, he needed to present the transit agency with a doctor’s note. That’s ridiculous. If you’re sick, you shouldn’t have to try to get a doctor’s appointment on the one or two days that you are sick, just to get a doctor’s note. How can you stay home and rest and hydrate?

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Camellia March 24, 2020 at 6:27 pm

My work phrases it differently. If you are off for three or more days, you have to have a doctor’s note stating that you are well enough/allowed to return to work. Not sure if that makes it any better…

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grannybunny March 25, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Actually, I think your policy is even worse, since it requires a now-recovered employee to obtain an unnecessary medical exam, solely for the purpose of obtaining the return-to-work note.

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Camellia March 25, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Agreed!

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