I've been working 9 hour shifts 4 days in a row in a hotel kitchen. I am a kitchen porter and have been on my own for these 4 days. These last 4 days there have been over 200+ people on the restaurant and on each day I've walked according to my pedometer 10 miles each shift. I am dreading the next two days as I'm physically exhausted. Would this situation be appropriate to call in sick or do I bite the bullet and go for another two 9 hour, 10 mile shift?

I reside in the United Kingdom, I don't need to provide any doctors notes to get a day off.

  • 2
    It totally depend on your employer's policy, If a sick leave doesn't request any doctor or other authorized proof, then just go for it. If they do require such paper work, then it's quite depending on your country, in US if you are exhausted as you described you can simply visit your doctor and most of them would be glad to help and provide some paperwork for you.
    – tweray
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:15
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    Also it might be necessary to talk to your direct supervisor about your situation and hopefully come up with more suitable shift for you. And again, it's totally depending on your country/region about whether that's viable, and also depending on your exact position and functioning of your job, there might be certain legality or safety concerns which can help you persuade your employer. Please provide more detail in your question.
    – tweray
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:18
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    @tweray I've discussed with the boss that the shifts he has me on are far too much for one person and have said I'll be reducing my hours down to two days a week instead of 5~6. This will take effect next week.
    – Kingpin
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:34
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    @DavidK If the kitchen is understaffed that is the managers issue, not the OPs. If the OP was hit by a bus would it be their responsibility to find a replacement? Yes, I'm sure the manager will be frustrated - but they should have things in place for staff shortages. It sounds more like taking time off is necessary to avoid being forced to take it off due to stress or other serious mental health issues.
    – MattR
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:34
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    @MattR I'm saying that if the kitchen is understaffed and the OP leaves the manager in a bind, then they may not have a job to come back to. That doesn't make it right, and I'm not saying the OP shouldn't take their health into account, but they also need to consider the real potential consequences and whether losing their job is a risk they are willing to take.
    – David K
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


If your employer is aware and promised to address the issue as soon as next week, I would personally bite the bullet and go through with this as a gesture of goodwill, given they likely won't have a last-minute replacement for you right away, should you take a sick day. After all we 're talking about "just" 2 more days of this schedule.

Obviously this is not meant to be confused with allowing your employer to take advantage of you in such an extreme way by having you cover work that would normally be covered by more than one person so if this isn't addressed as promised you re well within your rights and rules of courtesy to consider your next moves be it sick leave or ultimately a job where you re not constantly asked to spread yourself too thin.

  • 1
    -1 for the first part - the second part is negated by the first. If you feel you need time off for your physical, or mental, well-being: -take it-. There is absolutely no reason to overwork yourself to compensate for your employer's abject failure to staff properly. "I'll fix this next week" does not help you this week. Mental and physical health of OP trump ANY business need. OP's boss will not be there when OP needs medical or other assistance to get through the end result of the turmoil.
    – darkside
    Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 17:05
  • I dont see anything wrong or negated here if short term something extra is required of you to go the extra mile. Provided you have communicated the issue and a solution issued at the soonest that is. Spikes in work or unplanned work volume cannot be alway attributed to an employer's failure to staff properly. 2nd paragraph addresses this point exactly: if their employer don't remedy the situation now that they re obviously aware of it, it's not the OP's issue and would be silly to continue. Its a different thing for this situation to be the norm and it being an emergency(that is taken care of)
    – Leon
    Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 7:28

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