All week, I’ve been hearing hacking and sneezing and variousother upsetting noises coming from all different corners of myoffice.

|

It’s likely you have, too.

|

According to a survey of office workers by Staples, nearly 80percent of office workers come to work even when they know they’resick. That’s a whopping 20 percent increase just over lastyear.

|

And even worse, for those who stay home, more than two-thirdsreturn to work when they’re still contagious, putting coworkers’health and business productivity at risk.

|

This isn’t good news: For one, it’s flu season. (If you haven’theard, that spreads easily and fast.)

|

It’s a pretty obvious problem we have here, and of course, apretty obvious solution: Workers who are sick shouldn’t come towork. Period. Instead of getting better, you’ll prolong yourrecovery and sulk around all day not getting work done whilespreading germs to a significant amount of people. And that’s justmean.

|

Too bad following that solution isn’t all that easy. For thesickly workers, they have a valid excuse to show up: For example,the survey shows nearly half of workers cited concerns aboutcompleting work as the reason they don’t stay home sick. And, morethan a quarter of respondents come to work to avoid using a sickday, even though a majority of those surveyed indicated theiraverage productivity level while sick was only around 50percent.

|

In a struggling economy and competitive job market, workers areless likely to spend their time away from the office even if it’struly needed. And for PTO workers like myself, if you want to takea vacation, it means you better not get sick. If I caught the fluthis year, I’d have to cancel a visit to my parents’ home inBoston. That’s a tough, if not unfair, decision to make.

|

It’s a two-way street to fix the issue. Employees shouldn’t becoming to work, but employers need to encourage them not to—andthat’s not happening in a lot of places. If there really needs tobe something done, employers should encourage a telecommutingoption so they still work while quarantining themselves (win-win—atleast for the employer).

|

But the main issue is our country’s lack of sick time. TheUnited States is actually the only country that doesn’t guaranteepaid sick leave. As a result, close to one quarter of adult workerssay they’ve been threatened with termination or fired for takingtime off for being sick or taking care of a sick family member.

|

I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel ill.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.