Imagine this scenario: You’ve spent the past 24 hour wrenching up everything in your stomach. You’ve gone to the drug store and have been downing anti-nausea meds. It’s Sunday and you know you have work tomorrow.
You know what you have to do in order for your boss to accept your absence from work. You honestly doubt that they want a puking invalid in the office anyways, but protocol is protocol, regardless of how inefficient and
Silly it seems. You pick up the phone, talk to the receptionist and make an appointment to see your doctor on Monday morning. You probably already know the outcome. You’re starting to feel better, but the note is absolutely necessary to cash in on that sweet paid time off. You wake up the next day, stomach totally empty, but otherwise feeling absolutely fine. You exchange the normal pleasantries with the receptionist and sit down to wait for them to call your name. When they bring you back, you go into a little room. They take your temperature, look in your ears (God knows why) and you wait for the doctor to tell you that you’re fine and it was probably a bug. You pay them an exorbitant amount of money and they give you a neat little slip of paper with a legit excuse for your absence. You go home and proceed to spend the rest of the morning and afternoon watching movies online, texting friends and realizing how a few hours of vomiting was totally worth a day free from useless meetings, memos and the guy who always brings smelly fish to the office. You go the sleep early not really looking forward to the day forward but glad that you had the day off. You know your boss can’t really argue with a legit stomach bug. No one wants puke in the break room.
You show up early, do your best to look haggard and explain to your boss your recent maladies while doing your best to sound exhausted. You hand him the note, but to your surprise, he tells you he doesn’t need it. Your wallet suddenly feels lighter as you realize that you wasted your co-pay on a totally useless visit. You’ve had hangovers that were worse and you still went to work.
As odd as it seems, this is slowly becoming the norm with many workplaces. Since corporate culture has existed, a doctor’s note has been the only valid way to prove to your employer that you weren’t faking it and that you genuinely spent the night sick from maladies that weren’t self-inflicted. In a change that many might
Find surprising companies are beginning to realize that it might be worth it to just trust their employees. The reality is that even if the allegedly sick employee is lying, there is no real legal way to pursue it. Doctor’s notes are so incredibly vague that a potentially sick employee could have gone the dermatologist to have a big zit on their back popped and they would receive the same note as if they had bird flu. Doctor’s notes can only go so deep. They offer a legit excuse, but really only say that an individual should be removed from the workplace or general public for a given amount of time and not much else. Employers are also realizing that doctors really
Don’t play favorites when it comes to writing notes. Their job is to accurately assess what is wrong with you, not to be an HR intermediary for whatever company pays you. If you have a case of the sniffles, the doctor is still going to write you a note because he doesn’t want to be held responsible in case he missed your Ebola diagnosis. He has to cover his butt more than he has to look out for whatever company requires the note.
While it may look like the doctor has it out for the entrepreneur and the business person, kicking doctor’s notes to the curb also benefits employers. It may seem like they are just cutting their losses, but by offering employees a few unquestioned sick days companies may be lifting a weight off of already strained personnel.
Is there really any worth in trying to track down if a potentially sick employee really had bad chicken salad or if they drank too many beers at happy hour? Regardless of the circumstances, that employee is out of the equation for the day and there’s no real point in tracking down what exactly brought them to that state. Many progressive employers have come to this realization as well. They understand that people are going to get sick. They understand that people are biological organisms subject to the whims of other, more malicious organisms.
This doesn’t mean that employers are just rolling over and letting their employees walk all over them. Many employers are offering up to ten days off unquestioned. However, after those ten days, a more legit excuse is required via direct confirmation from a doctor displaying a real, chronic illness. We all know this is the case anyway. Any person missing more than 10 days, a year, aside from vacation, has something else going on that they need to let their employer know about, there’s no point in trying to delve into why an employee spent 1 night puking.