Employee Is Told To Reschedule Her Surgery Because Another Worker Will Be On Vacation That Day
Taking a sick day is never going to be fun, but sometimes they’re necessary. Contrary to what some bosses may believe, illnesses don’t actually vanish when employees drag themselves into the office and suffer through a work day.
But according to one supervisor, employees aren’t entitled to taking sick days if someone else will be on vacation during that time. Below, you’ll find a post that a frustrated employee recently shared on the Anti-work subreddit, detailing her supervisor’s unreasonable and cruel expectations.
This woman scheduled a necessary surgery months in advance and requested to take two sick days
Image credits: voronaman111 (not the actual photo)
But because another colleague would be away during that time, her supervisor denied her the days off
Image credits: nd3000 (not the actual photo)
Later, the woman shared additional details about the situation
Image credits: Yeayeayea8989
The average adult becomes ill several times a year, so sick days are a necessity
Ideally, none of us would ever have to use our sick days because we would all be in perfect health, but obviously, that’s just not realistic. The average adult becomes ill about three times a year. And while there are no federal mandates requiring companies to provide paid sick leave in the US, the average full-time worker is provided 8 sick days annually. However, we don’t always take advantage of these days.
According to Statista, approximately 80% of adults in the US who work or study didn’t take a single sick day between 2020-2021. And of those who did utilize some of their sick days, it was most common to take only two or three throughout the entire year.
So why aren’t Americans taking advantage of their sick days? Well, the BBC reports that almost a quarter of employees in the US have at one point or another been fired or threatened to be fired while taking time off to recover from an illness or to care for a sick loved one. And due to the toxic hustle culture that has permeated much of the American workforce, there’s often a stigma associated with taking sick days.
But due to toxic hustle culture and policies in the US, many workers feel guilty using them
Image credits: Marcus Aurelius (not the actual photo)
63% of workers admit that they feel guilty about taking sick days because it adds additional burdens onto their colleagues, and nearly 70% of employees who can work from home feel obligated to continue working through illness. 7 out of 10 workers also say that they’ve gone to work while ill, because they “can’t afford” to take a sick day, and over half worry about taking days off to recover because they fear it will upset their employers.
But do bosses actually have the power to deny their workers sick leave? According to Find Law, employers in the United States technically can ask their workers to come in at any time. And they may become upset if an employee calls in sick. But most companies have a policy in place that will allow workers to take sick days as long as they follow protocol.
For example, they may be required to provide several hours notice that they won’t be coming in, contact HR and/or their manager, find someone to cover their shift or use vacation days if they have no more sick days available. And when it comes to firing employees over taking sick days, it can be a complex issue. While most workers in the US are employed “at-will,” meaning they can be fired at any time, there are certain protections employees are entitled to to ensure they aren’t fired due to discrimination.
It’s important for employees to know their rights when it comes to sick leave
Image credits: Andrea Piacquadio (not the actual photo)
The Lacy Employment Law Firm explains on their site that there is no law that explicitly protects ill employees from being fired, but workers cannot be fired due to their sex, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, marital status, pregnancy, or genetic information. They also cannot be subjected to harassment or a hostile work environment, which is where the woman in this particular story may have some leverage.
Some readers also mentioned that it might be useful for the woman in this story to contact a lawyer and see if the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, can help her in this situation. This act entitles eligible employees to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for reasons including “the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth; the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement; to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; [and] a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.”
We would love to hear your thoughts on this story in the comments below, pandas. Have you ever been denied sick days from your employer? Then, if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article, be sure to check out this one discussing canceled sick days!