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I am an HR coordinator and our company is adopting an unlimited sick day policy and we have never done that before. is there anyone can share your unlimited sick day policy? thank you.

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    You are HR in your company, about to enact policy that... you don't know? Ask whomever made that policy. Also VTC as this is offtopic, on google you can find many examples
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:12
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    I don't understand what an unlimited sick day policy is. How did you limit how many days people get sick in the past?
    – Helena
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:15
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    Hi Helena, thank you for your answer, we used to entitle employees 18 paid sick days per year and now the company is introducing unlimited sick days policy, which means that there is no limitation on how many sick days they want to take, but we want to have a policy guide employee correctly use their sick time instead of abusing it. we also want to understand what "unlimited" means to employees and how we are processing it. @Helena Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:24
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    @Helena Usually these unlimited sick day and vacation policies mean that there is no accrual (from a payroll perspective) to pay out if someone leaves, and that so-called unlimited time off is still subject to a manager's discretion.
    – Xavier J
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:25
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    Unlimited sick leave is an accounting issue, not an HR issue. The HR issue is educating the managers on how to measure performance (which will be different in the various departments). The goal is to have managers who can determine that the person who is always there isn't doing anything while the person there only half the time is doing 80% of the department's work (or it could be the other way around). That a person is using a lot of sick leave is meaningless unless it affects performance.
    – David R
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 16:17

1 Answer 1

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I'm from the Netherlands and "Unlimited" sick days are the norm here. Here it's normal to think "If you're sick, you're sick and sick people stay home". We have decent compensation if you are sick (at least 70% of your wage, most companies do 100% for the first 3 months).

What does this mean in practice? Nothing special. No mass sick leave or other abuse of those rules. Yes, there are a few people abusing this (eg. Monday morning sickness, aka hangover), but for the most part no abuse.

What happens is that when someone is sick, they stay at home and take a proper rest. Instead of people not wanting to lose sick days where they go to the office, are a week unproductive and might infect other people and/or become sick again, they stay home 2 or 3 days and then continue "fresh".

And when it turns out you have people abusing the system, you find the bad apples pretty quickly and now know who to replace. In my experience it appears that often those people aren't your best workers anyway.


My definition of unlimited:
I can call in sick now, go home and stay home for as long as I like. If its more then a few days, more explanation is needed than "just feeling sick", but I can stay at home. When there is reasonable doubt, they can make me go to a doctor who specializes in deciding whether or not I can (partially) work. If that doctor says I'm legit, I can take sick leave easily a year+. Probably longer, but as that is very uncommon, I don't know the details at that timeline. Its worth noting that that doctor does lean towards getting people back into the workforce.

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  • Thank you so much for sharing this information and very appreciated. I am wondering how your policy define "unlimited"? Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:27
  • I've added that to my answer
    – Martijn
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:31
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    thank you for the information. Appreciated. Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 15:32
  • You can be sick a maximum of two years (you can be sick longer, obviously, but not as an employee), and after that UWV - assuming sufficient work has been done by employer and employee to reintegrate/get back to work, or there is good reason this was not possible - will grant the employer permission to fire the employee. The employee will then go into "ziektewet", and possibly WAO. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 12:37
  • BTW: The clock on that 2 year period resets if an employee reported 100% better for a period of 4 weeks (without vacation). Also, if the UWV finds that not enough was done to get the employee back to work, they can fine the company and/or require them to employ the sick employee for longer. Commented Dec 8, 2023 at 12:44

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