The COVID pandemic did nothing to change the US’s policies surrounding sick leave. Despite the abrupt education we received about infectious diseases, the US still lacks any protections for ill workers.
The United States has no mandated sick leave policies, meaning companies get to decide how to handle sick workers.
And if you guessed companies don’t care that their workers are sick, you’d be right.
Punished for Being Sick
One worker came online to bemoan the horrific sick leave policies in place at their company. They’ve been ill for three days but feel obligated to go to work.
“You need to prove sickness if you call off sick,” explained the worker, adding that they get written up if they call out without proof.
The lack of healthcare in the United States makes this request even more insidious.
The only way to “prove” you’re sick in management’s eyes is to get a doctor’s note. But the company doesn’t offer health insurance, and many workers can’t afford to see a doctor.
They’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Clearly, they shouldn’t come to work sick, but if they don’t, they risk a citation and could possibly lose their jobs.
Not Paid for Sick Days
Many employees don’t even get paid for sick days, meaning it’s even harder for them to call off and see a doctor. Not only do they have to spend money on the doctor, they’ll make less money by not going to work.
The precarious situation forces far too many employees to come to work sick, which means they’re spreading their illnesses to you – members of the public.
What’s the Logic?
Forum users can’t understand the logic behind the practice. Why demand doctors’ notes?
If you can trust an employee with the cash register and keys, why can’t you trust them to be honest about their illness?
And how much does it really matter if they’re lying, especially when you aren’t paying them for sick days?
Trust and Control
The situation showcases a complete lack of trust in employees on the manager’s part, but also the insidious desire for absolute control.
Companies really don’t care if people call in sick, but they can’t stand the thought of something they can’t control. These practices only serve to humble workers and remind them who is in charge.
They’re not allowed to be sick unless the manager gives the okay.
We need to change our work culture to recognize employees as humans first and workers second. Until then, corporations will continue to mistreat employees whenever it suits them.