we are given X amount of hours of sick leave a year, but then they figure out how much sick leave on average we use per division, our division is up 40% from other divisions* which equates to around 16 hours or 2 more days on average.

These figures concern the boss, but we are, on average, under the annual amount of leave by 20 hours (according to how much sick leave I get a year, for others it is under by 60 hours)

Why is this such a big deal?

Shouldn't we be able to use our sick leave every year and not be worried about repercussions?

*This jump is not attributed solely to FLMA and/or birth of a child situations

  • theories sometimes do not play out in reality. – easymoden00b Jul 1 '15 at 17:39
  • not sure what you mean there @easymoden00b – Malachi Jul 1 '15 at 17:40
  • I did the numbers and I can't be one of the people using a large amount of sick leave, I have used about 80 in 3 years. but I wanted to be prepared when the supervisor talked to me about my sick leave usage. the email from the boss sounded like it was a major concern that we used on average 2 more days than the other divisions. – Malachi Jul 1 '15 at 18:01
  • @JoeStrazzere our division is much smaller than the other divisions that they are comparing us too. so that may make things a little lopsided. I hadn't thought about that for the reason why our average is different than theirs. 1 or 2 of our employees could tip the scales. – Malachi Jul 1 '15 at 18:27
  • 1
    Please re-read the question @FionaTaylorGorringe 80 hours is is 10 days over 3 years is about 4-5 days a year. If you are one of those people that get the flu, that ain't bad. – Malachi Jul 3 '15 at 14:45

Sick leave has a specific purpose. If employees are using it as extra vacation days then it isn't being used correctly.

If employees are always on the edge of running out of days, they will be unable to use it for those doctor's appointments, and short illnesses. They might not have enough days to cover them when they need to get paid before the short and long term disability kick in.

In companies that have a use it or lose it system of sick days they may see a spike in usage just before days are lost. I worked for one company that give you 3 new sick days a year, but you could never have more than 6 on the books. They were afraid that employees would take the last days of the plan year as a sick day, because they would be losing it anyway.

For companies that work on government contracts they don't bill for holidays, vacation, and sick leave. They pay for those hours out of overhead. The accounting of those hours makes a difference on the rates they have to charge for new business.

Tracking average usage lets them know where they may have an issue. They will also be interested in the usage pattern are they taken in hours, single days, or multi-days. they also want to know how many are linked to the short term disability plan.


That is not the case. For management, use of sick leave, especially without a doctor's note to accompany it is reason for concern. Projects and plans can get backed up and management has a duty to maximize productivity and efficiency. Can't do that so much if there is a high rate of sick leave usage. That is why companies enacted limits on unexcused absences. When sick leave goes up without a legitimate doctor's note, that's one of the first signs of employees

  1. abusing it
  2. potentially looking for greener pastures outside the company.


That's completely different. No its none of their business what you do on a day you claim sick leave. Beyond the bureaucratic process of proof, what you actually do on that day is outside their right or obligation to know. That doesn't mean you have the right to abuse it by using it for something other than being genuinely ill or having an ill child/family member.

  • I am not going to go to the doctor every time I get sick. Sick leave is given, it's not a privilege. the limit for unexcused absences is the amount of leave given, right? – Malachi Jul 1 '15 at 17:53
  • The limit of unexcused absences varies by company, but the general consensus can be from 3-7 days of unexcused absences after which you need to furnish a doctor's note for the sick leave you are using so the employer can verify the legitimacy of your claim and not that you're just trying to use sick leave in lieu of vacation leave accrued. – Alex Jul 1 '15 at 18:01
  • 4
    @Malachi - Yes. If you are taking a sick day to, say, go to the beach, then you're abusing sick leave by using it instead of vacation. If one department is using sick leave at a substantially greater rate than other departments, one explanation is that the people in this department are abusing their sick leave. That may lead to the company adjusting policies for that department by, for example, requiring more proof of illness. – Justin Cave Jul 1 '15 at 18:16
  • 2
    or it could mean that one group of people work under different strains and stresses and require more sick days to combat the fatigue set on by said stresses and strains, right? – Malachi Jul 1 '15 at 18:25
  • 1
    @Malachi no sick leave is not a privilege it Is part of your statutory or contractual rights – Pepone Jul 1 '15 at 19:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.