Guidelines for Formulating a Robust Sick Leave Policy

Guidelines for Creating a Responsible Sick Leave Policy

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September 10, 2020

The current health crisis has left businesses reeling in more ways than one. Aside from reduced customer flow and profits due to community quarantine measures, your business can also be shut down if one of your employees is infected.

You can significantly reduce this risk by following the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there is another way the virus can infiltrate your workplace.

According to a survey of employed Americans, 37 percent of respondents said they would show up for work even when sick because they can’t afford to miss work. This reckless behavior is understandable given the financial constraints many Americans face. You can ensure your employees don’t jeopardize the well-being of their coworkers by implementing a robust sick leave policy.

Here are some guidelines for creating a sick leave policy that helps you protect your business and your employee’s well-being.

Paid Sick Leave

The best way to make sure employees don’t come into work when they’re sick is to institute paid sick leaves. Set a number of days each month that your employees can take when they’re not feeling well. Reassure them that they’ll still earn their day’s wages so long as they have sick leaves. By removing the risk of lost pay, your employees will be more comfortable staying at home when they’re ill.

If you’re apprehensive about shelling out sick leave payments, think about how your business will lose a lot more if its compromised by contagion.

Guidelines for Creating a Responsible Sick Leave Policy

Study Local Laws

Check if any city or state ordinances already give employees sick leave privileges. Currently, 13 states have laws requiring employers to grant their workers paid sick leave. If your business isn’t located in one of these states, studying these state laws for particulars can help you when creating your own.

For example, if you’re having a hard time calculating how much sick leave to grant each employee, you can look at the mechanics each of the states used.

Enforce Leave

You need to come up with a sick leave system that ensures your employees are truly well before they rejoin your workforce. In case its viral, ask for certification and tests that corroborate their wellness. For example, viral antibody tests are often accurate and can indicate if the subject is still contagious.

For relatively simple illnesses, a doctor’s note can suffice. You should also enforce the so-called “daycare policy,” which requires someone to not be feverish or have obvious gastrointestinal distress for 24 hours before coming back to work.

Follow Your Own Rules

Finally, no matter how well-crafted your sick leave policy, it will be for nothing if you don’t follow them yourself. Employees will often look to management and executives as exemplars and if you insist in going to work while still ill, they will take it as a cue to do the same. If you’re feeling poorly, follow your policies.

In today’s environment, employers need to look out for their employees more than ever. Only by working together can you ensure that your business makes it through this crisis unscathed.

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