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The past 6 months I have been ill or working from home because of the illness for about 2-3 days a month. I realise this is not optimal for an employer, but nobody has complained/asked any questions yet.

The problem is likely to keep occurring for a bit as my doctors still have not figured out what the issue is. Should I notify HR that this might be a recurring issue? Or should I wait for them to approach me about it?

I feel like it leaves a bad reputation for 'always being sick' and they might suspect I just don't want to go to work.

  • 1
    Please specify the country. Also, are you close to exhausting your sick leave? – mhoran_psprep Oct 6 '17 at 11:19
  • What you want to achieve by doing that? get more sick days? prevent the bad reputation? That cannot be stopped, if you are sick regularly its difficult to not be tagged as "sick guy" – Homerothompson Oct 6 '17 at 11:19
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    @gnsanty yes, prevent bad reputation or any kind of trouble. – Summer Oct 6 '17 at 11:21
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    @mhoran_psprep Europe/NL, my contract states no maximum amount of accepted days. – Summer Oct 6 '17 at 11:21
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    Any time you have a question involving potential discussions with HR, the answer in always 'no'. HR is not your friend. – Strawberry Oct 6 '17 at 14:13
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Part I -- Talking further to HR

I would not bring it up further. What I would do is work through your manager in an open an honest way. Keep your manager in the loop in terms of further developments with your condition. Let them decide if they need to communicate new information to HR.

The main point I would make is to not shine the HR spotlight on yourself unless you have to. I would for your own information review the employee handbook and see if your situation is specifically addressed. If it is not, let your manager figure it out.

Part II -- Your reputation

Since you have been able to do this (work from home 2 or 3 days a month for the last six months), then obviously you are doing a good job and your manager is not catching any flack due to you working remotely. Your reputation is fine.

Summary

In short, there is no need to further HR's involvement. In terms of your reputation consider this: Typically those who don't get work done effectively are not allowed to work remotely long term, as you have.

  • 4
    This view of "HR is the enemy" and employee handbooks is very US centric. But the answer is the same in the Netherlands, don't go to HR with this, they won't understand why you're coming to them. – RemcoGerlich Oct 6 '17 at 20:19
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    HR is not the enemy, but HR is not your friend either - they are there to protect the company's interests. When your company gets bought and 20% of the staff has to be laid off, better not to be top of mind in a negative way at HR... – Konerak Oct 11 '17 at 7:23
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Since you're dutch, I'd like to say that "sick days" is not a common term in the Netherlands.

People will always be sick and the amount of days that you are sick tend to have no effect on your salary or anything similar (not even vacation days). At most it might lower your yearly bonus, if you even have one.

Talk to your manager

If you're going to be sick more frequently, just talk about this to your manager so that he can manage the situation. If he asks you to work at home during those sick days, then he'll most likely count those "sick days" as working days.

9 out of 10 times this is not an issue and life will go on.

The only time you should bother with HR in this situation, is if your manager tells you to contact HR. But it's more likely that he'll do this himself.

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    @MisterSortofPositive The part specific to the Netherlands, but that could have been added as a comment. – NoBackingDown Oct 6 '17 at 12:02
  • At all the companies I've worked so far you take a 'ziektedag'. Which literally translates to sick day so... – Summer Oct 6 '17 at 12:36
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    @JaneDoe1337 I get what you mean, but I means sick days as in plural. Your company is not allowed to take away vacation days or make your sick days affect your salary. This is something that's been decided by law. So while companies still keep track of it, they only have the power to decrease your yearly bonus based on sick days or other things. In other countries the term "sick days" directly translate towards vacation days. So if you are sick for 2 days, that'd mean you will have 2 vacation days less as-well. This does not apply in the Netherlands. – Migz Oct 6 '17 at 13:18
  • @JaneDoe1337 also, a usefull link in dutch : uwv.nl/particulieren/ziek/ziek-met-werkgever/ik-ben-net-ziek/… – Migz Oct 6 '17 at 13:24
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    @JaneDoe1337 the term 'ziektedag' might be used, but you don't actually take one, as you don't have any. You report sick, which for all intents and purposes is legally a normal working day (or days) except that you don't have to perform work related duties as long as you are reported sick, and you need to remain home except for doctor/hospital visits. If so requested you are required to report to a company-appointed doctor. – Mark Rotteveel Oct 6 '17 at 19:15
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1. Work from Home

At least for the company I work for in Germany, "Sick" and "Working from Home" are regarded as mutually exclusive. If you are Sick, you are not Working from Home, and vice versa.

Our company is happy for employees to work 2 days per month from home, maybe your company has a similar policy?

If on your "sick" days you can effectively work from home, and your manager is satisfied with this, it would make far more sense to simply classify these days as working from home, and stay out of HR's radar entirely.

Obviously, this needs in any case discussion with your manager, so they understand why you will often be working from home at short notice.

2. Get a Doctor's Note whenever possible

If you must report in sick, at least try to get a doctor's note, even if it isn't strictly required in your company's policy for short periods of absence.

Companies often classify sick with and without a certificate separately, and it will look far better on your record to have a long list of "Sick (with medical certificate)" than "Sick (without medical certificate)".

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