October 20, 2009

Sick Leave Abuse in the Workplace

Sick Leave Abuse in the Workplace

Sick leave is one thing that every employee needs and is approved and mandated by work related laws and such using of employees' sick leave options leave abuses occur along the way and the central question for this research will have to be, 'How can sick leave abuse be managed effectively?', this pertains to the workplace. There are several factors affecting sick leave and why employees resulted into such abuses of the privilege known for, management of sick leave is effective if there can be available information from official statistics and descriptive studies on association between demographic background factors and sickness absence, evidence on the causal relationship between these factors and sick leave is lacking. There was moderate scientific evidence that the amount of sickness absence is influenced by the design of the social insurance system, but insufficient evidence on the magnitude of change required to influence the level of sickness absence (Allebeck and Mastekaasa, 2004 p. 49). The possible consequences of sick leave can be measured at different levels in society and to focus on consequences from perspective of sick-listed individual as noted, sick leave may have positive and negative consequences for employee, such as regarding disease, health, working life, social life, lifestyle and emotional aspects. The lack of relevant studies is most striking observation from review of studies on the consequences of being sick listed (Vingård, Alexanderson and Norlund, 2004 p. 207).

There has been concern regarding abuse of sick leave by school employees as suggestions have been offered for reducing the abuse of sick leave both within education and industry. Reviewing of 4 to 6 research studies that evaluate plans for reducing sick leave abuse among various categories of employees. Thus, paid sick leave serves to relieve any possible economic burden on professional employee who is ill, protect school children from the necessity of being exposed to a teacher with an illness which might be communicated to them, and obviate the problem of teachers performing at a low level of proficiency by reason of an incapacitating illness. However, there are occasions on which healthy employees take leave of their duties for other than reasons of sickness but attribute their absences to personal illness. According to review in literature, there have been categories of plans being devised to prevent such misuses of sick leave provisions such as offering of rewards or bonuses for not using sick leave, elimination of psychological and medical reasons for sick leave abuse. Studies pertaining to categories will be described as well as methods that attempt to eliminate reasons for sick leave abuse.

The need to specify that discipline as a result from repeated sick leave abuse and misuse, keeping policy flexible, determining if and why employees exploit leave policies is important. Just as an employer analyzes turnover, the organization should also look at sick leave abuse trends. Is leave usage higher in one department or under particular supervisor? Are workplace practices or policies affecting absences? Do children's illnesses in turn lead to employee's time-off? Finding the root cause of sick leave abuse problems helps in addressing core issues. Methods for monitoring sick leave abuse vary from one organization to the next, but there are some common guidelines employers can follow (Heathfield, S. Sick Leave Abuse: A Chronic Workplace Ill? Encourage Appropriate Sick Leave Use. About.com).

- Recognize the problem with sick leave abuse and intervene early before it escalates. Managers need to enforce sick leave policies and take appropriate action

- Find out why the employee is abusing leave. Talk to employees who are abusing leave and see if their behavior stems from personal problem

- Learn to say "no, do not allow employees get away with abusing leave policies

- Use procedures, regulations, practices and knowledge to benefit management as well as the employee. Supervisors and managers must work with employees, make certain that all employees are aware of sick leave policies and how to use them


- The one reason why employees take sick leave is because they are ill and unfit to come to work

- Some employees take sick leave when they are not genuinely sick


- Cashing out of paid sick/personal/carer's leave entitlement

- Adopt "family-friendly" initiatives

- Offer incentives for employees to come to work rather take time-off on sick pay

- Encourage firms and organizations to adopt strategic absence management strategies

Sick leave is necessary benefit for all employees. If an employer didn't offer sick leave, they would accelerate health problems and the spread of illness, thereby lowering productivity and morale. Despite the pressure for perfect attendance to improve customer service and efficiency, employees need equitable sick leave programs for security and overall high performance. Yet, some organizations suffer from sick leave abuse, and sick leave abuse translates into lost dollars. Pattern of abuse with regard to sick leave does refer to employees who have violated the organization's attendance policy on numerous occasions. In order to confidently discipline employees with attendance problems, legal experts say the best bet is to have clearly written policy that specify organization standards and employee requirements.


Chapter 5. Risk factors for sick leave - general studies

Peter Allebeck; Arne Mastekaasa

Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 1651-1905, Volume 32, Issue 5, Supplement 63, 2004, Pages 49 - 108

Chapter 9. Consequences of being on sick leave

Eva Vingård; Kristina Alexanderson; Anders Norlund

Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 1651-1905, Volume 32, Issue 5, Supplement 63, 2004, Pages 207 - 215

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