Monday, February 5, 2018

Where Are Your Employees on Super Sick Monday?

It’s certainly not a new phenomenon that a greater number of employees call in sick on the day after The Big Game (we’re not supposed to infringe on the trademarked Super Bowl phrase). Employers might be talking now more about the greater absenteeism on that Monday, and certainly the media and advertisers are having fun with the practice of employees calling in sick on that day. It’s kind of like the day after a holiday, whether it be July 5th, December 26th of the day after Thanksgiving, a lot of employees have overindulged, stayed up late or just in general lack the motivation to go to work that day.

Some foresighted employees plan ahead of time to be off, but what about those that just call in absent  the Monday after the S.B. (I’ve refrained from using the words!)? A spike in absences on Super Sick Monday can not only hamper normal operations, but can really irritate employees who have shown up for work. So what can you, as an employer, do about this? Here are a few tips:
  • If an employee calls in on the day after a holiday or on Super Sick Monday and requests to use a vacation or personal day, an employer can deny the request if it has a policy that requires use of those types of leave to be preapproved. It probably won’t even be farfetched to take the position that operational needs prevent approval of vacation and personal time.
  • Within the parameters allowed by law or applicable union contract, check up on your “sick” employees. Principally, check social media sites (without requiring employees to provide passwords) to see what these employees are up to on the day after a holiday or Super Sick Monday. If they’re posting pictures of themselves out to lunch or shopping (spending their gambling winnings?) then you may have cause to discipline the employees for misuse of sick leave.
  • Go the other route and create an incentive for employees to come to work on the day after a holiday or on Super Sick Monday. Have a free breakfast, even if it’s just doughnuts or bagels, or some other treat for your employees to induce them to come to work that day. An incentive program where an employee gets an extra half day off or gets their birthday off if they come to work the day before and after every holiday, and on the day after The Big Game in the preceding year might well be worth it to an employer to keep operations running smoothly on those low attendance days. Extra incentives for employees who show up to work on these days of traditional low attendance at the very least acknowledge their dedication, which, even if it doesn’t achieve the goal of lowering absenteeism, rewards the employees who did show up.

Employers should always remember that before taking any punitive action against an employee, to check applicable union contracts and remember to uniformly apply any actions which may lead to discipline. The point is to get the message across to employees that unplanned absences are not only disfavored but that all available policies will be enforced to prevent them.