Calling in sick

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Denise Petet 8 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #153415

    Sharon Erickson

    I work for the County of Sacramento; In the division that I am in, there is seems to be a control issue over staff calling in sick. For the last few years it has been a battle with the Union and want the Manager wants. The staff are required to call 2 people when calling in sick. They have to call their direct supervisor, leave a message, then call the next level up, to their direct supervisors, supervisor. It really seems to be a over kill and not really necessary if you are sick, calling one number is bad enough. According to our Manager this is a policy that almost every business follows and it is a standard policy in any Government setting.

    This may not be a question that I should ask on the site, but I am wondering if anyone else has heard of this two deep call in policy.

    Knowing the Manager as I do, I really think it is a power control, especially since Union is against it.

    I have staff complaining to me about this all of the time and could just use some information

  • #153443

    Denise Petet

    I think i can see both sides. Yes, it is a pain to make two calls…but I’ve also been on the other end with a co-worker calling in sick…to the person that may not come in until 830 (and the first person’s day starts at 8) so me, as the co-worker doesnt’ know for sure that my partner is sick until the supervisor makes it in. Now, if my co-worker called both his supervisor and that person’s supervisor, I’d know at 8 instead of 830.

    It is doubtlessly annoying but it also protects the employee from being reprimanded because they called into a person who wasn’t there to hear the call in a timely manner.

  • #153441

    Terrence Hill

    Sounds to me like someone has been abusing their sick leave and instead of dealing with the abuser, everyone is made to suffer. This is what happens when employees show that they are not trustworthy. The process becomes more burdensome for us all. This is usually an indicator of a much bigger trust issue in the workplace. The only way to overcome it is to demonstrate that you are trustworthy by not only complying with this ridiculous rule, but proving to management that the rule is not necessary. Try calling in the night before instead of waiting until the day that you are sick. Try coordinating coverage with your co-workers instead of just calling the supervisor. Try teleworking so that you don’t need to call in sick at all. Maybe try to implement new process that doesn’t requiring calling – maybe e-mailing everyone at once. Be proactive in the face of bureaucracy and please don’t complain. That does nothing to instill trust.

  • #153439

    Peter Sperry

    Why not just set up a sick call email list and have employees send a single message that is delivered to everyone who needs to know if they will be out?

  • #153437

    Corey McCarren

    I like the idea of a mass email for all those that you calling out would affect. I think it’s important for your co-workers to know ASAP also considering they’ll be the ones picking up any slack. I don’t see the issue of calling two people personally particularly because the first one is just leaving a message, though it’s definitely more of an inconvenience.

  • #153435

    Denise Petet

    Or e-mail the appropriate supervisors and, if you access your work mail via the web, change your out of office message to ‘I’m home sick today, please contact….if you need help immediately, or leave me a message and I’ll get to it when I come back’.

    If Ed is sick, and Ed calls into Mary, who’s also home sick, so no one else realized that Ed actually called in then Ed shouldn’t be up to being punished or held accountable for a ‘no show’ because he made a good faith effort to call in. The responsibility should be on Mary, who’s in a position to be in charge of people, to check her voice mail from home and then pass the message on.

    If Mary goes on vacation for 2 weeks, then it’s on Mary to designate the replacement person for Ed to call into.

  • #153433

    Deb Green

    Bingo! 🙂

  • #153431

    I agree with Terry. Sounds like you might have one bad apple that is poisoning the whole bunch. I think trust is one of the most important things in an organization, especially when it comes to taking time off.

  • #153429

    Richard Wong

    Part of it may be due to the fractured communication system within the bureaucracy. By leaving a message with only one individual, the burden of informing the rest of the office depends entirely on that individual, who might be coming in later, on leave, on an RDO, or calling in sick themselves. A better approach might be to use the simultaneous email system that Peter suggests. That way all the critical people will be informed and any failure to effectively communicate doesn’t fall upon a single individual in the chain.

  • #153427

    Pattie Buel

    As a supervisor, I’d rather see you inform all the people that are going to be affected by you absence than just telling me and my boss. That way, I don’t have to answer the “Have you seen _________?” question all day. Mass email, out of office on phone and email, putting Sick leave as an all day appt on your calendar all work for me.

    Bigger problem we have is that the personnel rules state that you can request sick leave up to 2 hours after your normal report to work time and some call/email at the 1:55 mark.

  • #153425

    Sharon Erickson

    I should have added that we are a small unit of 20 people, 4 including me are supervisors, It is a Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. We handle patient accounts that have services rendered at the County clinic’s. We do not have to work a front counter. Everyone has their own assignments so no one is dependent on each other in most cases. About 4 years ago a new middle supervisor started this rule because she wanted to know everything about everybody, since she did not make it in the unit and is now gone, the manager still wants to continue the policy now that we replaced the middle supervisor, only one of the supervisors is responsible for time off and time sheets. Everyone has a different start time including the supervisors, the direct supervisor is the first to arrive in that side, so there is really no reason that the second call in supervisor to have the phone call also since he comes in 30 mins later. Also we have each others password for voice mails so that if we are not at work, the call in messages can be retrieved. I really think this is a policy for control and since all of the line staff hate it, then it is kept in place. I just really think that stating all Government agency’s use this policy as well as most private sectors is not true and what to show her that it is not everywhere and in fewer work places the is stated, Thank you for your replys

  • #153423

    Corey McCarren

    Thanks for the clarification of the situation, it helps us understand where you’re coming from a lot better! It’s unfortunate when someone makes a bad rule, leaves, then the office is still stuck with that rule.

  • #153421

    Keena Cauthen

    We have two options. Option 1, you call your supervisor or one of the other supervisors in the building. While I was a supervisor, I gave my home phone as well as the work #, since I was one of those who comes in later than others but am up early with kiddos. Those supervisors who don’t want to give out a personal number do not have to, as long as their office number is provided. Most employees have at least 2 numbers for supervisors and the instruction is you have to TALK TO a supervisor — not leave a message, not e-mail, but talk to a supervisor. This is for those employees who may not have the leave, but like to call in sick and when they don’t get paid for those days, play the “I didn’t know… no one told me that” card. So everyone has to speak to a supervisor if they call in under Option 1.

    Option 2 started about 2 years ago and seems to running fairly smoothly. There is a leave line to be used for calling in sick. It is the same # for all employees and you are expected to have called in by 0900 (the latest time you could report for work without being absent). By 0930 the messages are picked up off this line by someone in the front office and this list of employees out sick is shared with the supervisors via e-mail by 1000. The rules for the leave line is that you cannot use it if you have less than 40 hours of leave (cummulative) at the time you are calling in. If you do not have the 40 hours of leave, then you must use Option 1, thus ensuring that you speak to a supervisor.

    Both of these options require communication. In Option 1, the supervisors share the information of those employees who are short on leave, normally on Friday morning during their daily meeting. In Option 2, it is imperative that the front office is timely on getting their information out or supervisors are wondering where employees are at and trying to call them at home.

    I must say, I was skeptical at first about the leave line, but it is showing it is working. Employees aren’t having to call numerous times, or wait till a specific time to call in. Many are calling in at some unholy hour when they realise that they are sick and won’t make it in, thus ensuring that when they get to sleep, they don’t have to worry about waking up just to report in. Employees who do not have the required # of hours to call in on the leave line know it, and are aware of the reprecussions if they use it when they are not eligible. The Union is happy, because we are working with the employees who are not abusing their leave and holding those who possibly are to a tighter restriction, and none of it against the contract. Employees are happy, because for once there seems to be a policy that isn’t put in place to punish the whole, when only a minority are causing the issue, and it has helped morale (unexpected benefit).

  • #153419

    Mary Kimbell-Smith

    What we noticed with a segment of our employee population when we put in a leave line was that use of sick time skyrocketed. We tracked it for a couple of years before we had enough numbers to prove to the department mgmt how much higher the usage was compared to pre-auto reporting. Now we have gone back to the “you must speak to a live person” idea. It is too soon to know if we will see a drop in overall sick usage – but that is what we anticipate seeing. This is the sort of thing that leads to those trust issues we’re all talking about.

  • #153417

    Katt Hancher

    We’re not Union, but I’ve never heard of a two-call requirement. Seems like over-kill to me. Most onerous common requirement I know of is the doctor note if you’re out 3 days or more.

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