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Should sick co-workers stay home?
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Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
Colds, flu and allergies are raging right now. It seems like all around us we hear sniffling, sneezing, coughing and nose-blowing. And you don't know if the person in the cube next to you is having an allergy attack or is sharing germs that might bring you down within the next few days.

Do you think that folks who are sick should stay home instead of coming to work and possibly spreading infection?

What's YOUR rule of thumb?

Here are some resources that may help:

Common Cold: Too Sick to Work?

Colds & Flu Quiz: Too Sick to Go to Work?

How to Stay Well When Everyone Else is Sick
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Anon_6065 responded:
They should but in my experience, most don't. Either they don't want to use their vacation time (or they don't have any) or they already have too many occurances. At my job if you take a day off, for any reason you have to use your vacation time to cover it. Also, if you don't get it approved before taking the day off it counts as an occurance. And you're only allowed a few occurances in a time period before you get a warning or lose your job.
 
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sarah0323 responded:
Well it depends is it Allergies or are you actually sick. I have really bad allergies so even in winter I may have a flare up and people think you are "sick". I don't want to use all of my time for allergies.

For me if you are running a temp then I stay home otherwise I'm going to work. No one does my job while I am away so in all honesty it isn't worth it to stay home sick. I get call after call and then it is all still there waiting for me to come back to it.
 
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crunk05177 replied to sarah0323's response:
If I called in sick every time I was sick or my kids were sick, I would never be in work. Honestly, unless I am dying I don't call in. There just isn't enough time given to cover 3 people in a year....(me and my 2 kids)
 
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lupylisa44 responded:
If you are sick, you should stay home! This should be mandatory at all places of employment so that workers do not fear losing their job if they get sick.

Lupylisa
 
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VicsEandJ responded:
It would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone could stay home if they were sick- obviously it's better for everyone if germs could be more contained.

But since people in this country are often forced to work with little or no sick leave and if they use it all they risk having NOjob at all- it's really a fantasy.

And if you have kids and they CAN'T go to daycare or school for a certain time period after an illness and you have to stay home with them, it's difficult to take more time off and maintain a good working relationship with co-workers and your boss- even if you get paid when you're out of work.

Co-workers may complain about sick people at work- but they also complain about co-workers who are always out of work for one reason or another, even if it protects them, if they have to make up the slack

It would be nice if it were different, but sometimes you gotta do what you've gotta do for your family, becuse that is your priority.

Alos, like the PP said, not all sneezing is from a cold or virus- who can tell an allergy sneeze from a cold sneeze- and it is possible to have allergies in every season.

Plus, people forget that the real reason that it is hard to contain viruses is that people are contagious for a period of time BEFORE they have symptoms of the illness. Since no one (or very few!) is psychic and no one (normal) stays home in ANTICIPATION of an illness, it wouldn't completely solve the problem to tay home when you're sick.

What peole coudl do is what my babies were taught- cough or sneeze into your elbow- not you hands. And if people actually washed their hands when they were in the bathroom- it would help.
 
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davedsel57 responded:
We raised our boys with the following practice for not going to school: If you are throwing up or have a fever, you can stay home. My wife and adhere to that practice for our jobs. Our sons are now 20 and 22, working full time and also following those practices for their jobs.

In this economy it is difficult to stay home when ill. Many companies do not offer sick time, and too many absences could result in termination. There is a cool radio commercial in our area for a temporary staffing company. They tell sick employees that is OK to stay home when ill, that "Bob" from that staffing company will come in and do their jobs. That actually is all too true. If you can't do your job, your company is sure to find someone that can.

In an ideal world, no one should have to work or go to school when they are sick. Unfortunately, that is now the way it works in our real world.
 
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Anon_2991 responded:
Like many others, I generally save my sick time for when my son is ill. It would be nice to be able to take some time off when I'm undr the weather, between daycare vacations and sick days most of my time away from the office is already allocated.
 
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tlkittycat1968 responded:
As prior posters have said, in an ideal world, everyone would have sick time but, unfortunately, it isn't an ideal world. I have sick time and vacation time I've saved up over the years that I can use but DH doesn't have either so if he doesn't go to work, he doesn't get paid. I've seen his check take a huge hit after just being home sick for two days out of the pay period.

Some people have to choose between going to work sick or being able to pay the electric bill that month, especially those that live paycheck to paycheck.

Now, if you work where I do and have both vacation and sick leave, there's no reason to come in to work when sick. We also have people that abuse their sick leave/vacation by calling in sick a lot, usually on a Monday or even a Tuesday after a long weekend. When the phone rings Monday mornings we take bets as to which one is calling in.
 
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jenlewi responded:
Vomiting or fever, STAY HOME! Otherwise, it's unlikely you're contagious, at least around folks with normal immune systems. Obviously, the criteria should be stricter for hospitals, nursing homes and day care centers.

To be honest, though, the only job I ever had where sick days weren't a problem was at my daughter's school. I got sick days both for myself and my daughter, so if she was sick, I got the day off to take care of her. If there was any indication that an employee MIGHT be sick during flu season, they were encouraged to take off work. I called off "iffy" one flu season, and it's good that I did, because twenty minutes after I'd have gotten to work, I was sick as a dog. That was a nasty one for the school, because so many students and staff didn't know they were getting sick before they got to school, so it still spread like wildfire.

Most jobs don't want you to take sick days, no matter how sick you are. That's one of the reasons many illnesses spread so much before the outbreak ends.
 
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An_244278 responded:
Allergies are not contagious, so there is no reason for them to stay home.
As for colds, they are contagious for 5 days the couple days before the person knows they are sick. There is no way any employer would allow someone to stay home sick for that long. Where I work, after 3 days out sick, the person has to apply for FMLA, which is ridiculous if you have bronchitis, for instance. part of the problem is inherent to workplaces that treat people who are out sick as if they are faking. People are penalized for being out sick, and rewarded for perfect attendance, even if it means showing up sick and contagious. Lip service is paid to people staying home when they are contagioius, but work loads are such that people are forced to come to work anyway. And a fever is not an adequate yardstick if a person is older or on meds that promote not having a fever.
 
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hootyowl2 responded:
It would be nice to be able to stay home if one is really sick. It is not so simple though. I only called in for severe vomitting, diahrea [where you dare not leave the throne for more than a minute..>, which was about 1 x per year at my last job.

I worked in a nursing home. Most of us had to work sick, unless we were incapacitated with vomiting or such. It would not be quite that bad, but some girls called in sick just to goof off, then one of us had to come in on our days off to cover for a lazy person [or a person who was really sick>. That did not make for good feelings. The workload in nursing homes and hospitals is very heavy, & making them shorthanded is not good.

Even if people do not come in sick in nursing homes, there are still so many germs going around, that we get sick easily. That is despite "normal handwashing" and other precautions. Since they passed that HIPPA law, the nursing home I used to work at quit putting people on isolation for things such as MRSA, hepatitis, and many other deadly infections. Allegedly, it "invades their privacy" !!!! What about other people's rights to be protected from those same deadly infections ? Granted that the financial cost of putting a person on isolation is enormous, but the cost of not doing it is even more. It could cost employees, visitors, and relatives a life.

The elderly are not always alert enough or educated enough or well enough to practice good hygiene. Few if any of them understand sterile procedures, much less practice them. They do all kinds of unsanitary things. Then when people come to visit their loved ones --which they definitely should do-- children and other family members are exposed to those same deadly germs just by touching surfaces or breathing. People with a known deadly infection roam the halls freely, touching everything, and other people. It is heartbreaking, but they need love and hugs the same as all of us.

Ideally, it is a good idea to stay home when sick. In practicality, it just doesnt work so easily.
 
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Peanutpark responded:
Yes, please stay home! I'm still battling a sinus/ear infection that won't go away because a co-worker came in sick in Jan. Many of us got her infection because of it. People think that it's admirable to come to work when you are sick to show how dedicated they are, In reality, it causes more co-workers to be sick and more time is lost than if that one person would have just stayed home.
 
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ImMe26 replied to Peanutpark's response:
And im sure you havent missed two months of work, so you yourself are probably "infecting" others.

Fever, throwing up-STAY HOME...Everything else is okay for the most part.
 
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JenPBDBP2 responded:
Yes, we should all stay home when sick. However like almost everyone else has said, that's often just not possible. I am fortunate that I have FMLA for my chronic illness but if I call in for any other reason, I will receive an occurance and points. Too many points (such as calling in more than 3 times a year) will get you written up. If I am vomiting or have the runs, I'll stay home more for myself than anyone else.

It was different when my son was small. His father had divorced me and left me with no alternative but to put him in daycare. When he was sick, I could not take him. What option did I have but to not go to work and risk my job? It's easier now that he's 15 and can take care of himself when he's ill but you still feel guilty for leaving him alone while sick.

What makes me very angry about this question is the concept that people only come in because they want to be 'heroes' or to 'impress the boss.' BS. We're there because we can't afford not to be.


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