Depending on the philosophy your company takes, the issue of sick leave can be pretty contentious.
Do you keep your sick days separate from other time off? Do you hire someone specifically to track it? Or do you lump sick leave and vacation days into one big bucket labeled “paid time off?” Do you allow workers to bank sick time and get paid for it, or is it “use it or lose it?” And that’s not even considering short- and long-term disability for workers with chronic illness.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? But the good news is there’s a solution which more and more companies are embracing – an unlimited sick days policy.
Yup, that’s right. Companies across the nation and the world are embracing a “less is more” approach, trusting employees to take the time they need while still getting work done. And while there’s always room for abuse of the system, some companies have stopped looking over employees’ shoulders because it actually works to the business’ advantage. Here are some reasons why.
If workers are all out of sick days they’ll feel they have to come into work or risk not getting paid, or, even worse, losing their job.
One sick person comes into an office with close quarters, and the bug starts spreading. Pretty soon, instead of having one employee out for a few days, you’ve got the bubonic plague spreading through your ranks with dozens of people out of work for various amounts of time.
Just let workers rest and get healthy without having to worry about coming in, or allow them to work from home so they can at least get a little bit done while they’re feeling sick.
How does being out sick lead to more work being done? Easy.
Sick people are often distracted and not working to their maximum potential. Workers who aren’t worried about sick days will take the time they need to recover and then come back to work healthy and productive.
If you want to have a system that tracks paid time off and sick leave, you have to pay at least one or more employees
Many companies that monitor sick leave either have employees and their managers keep track of days themselves or hire a human resources employee to track it all. That usually means purchasing some sort of tracking software, all to determine if Jim from accounting actually has that one last day to take off because of the flu.
Instead, leave it up to employees and their direct supervisors to work sick time out amongst themselves. As long as no one is abusing the privilege and deadlines are still being met, the company is fine with not breathing down its workers’ necks. This policy saves on personnel and software costs normally spent on tracking.
Simply put, if employees feel respected they’re more likely to stay.
No one likes to work for a micromanager, and no one wants to choose between their health and a paycheck. If you have employees – especially top-performers – you value and want to keep, then keeping them happy becomes a huge priority. And even though employees usually list salary as their biggest concern, work/life balance is significant as well.
Keeping high-performing employees will maintain your company’s productivity and reduce turnover costs by avoiding frustrated employees jumping ship.
Happy employees do better work.
If you make employees feel respected and treat them like adults instead of schoolchildren beholden to an attendance policy, you’ll end up creating a work environment that makes employees feel valued. That, in turn, leads to better employee retention, a boost in morale, and even good word of mouth amongst jobseekers when it’s time to hire more employees.
Creating a place where people actually like coming to work is a huge benefit.