Keeping Sick Employees Home

Does anyone have a good policy for keeping sick employees home? Although we appreciate the "warriors" who come to work sick, we are concerned that they are infecting their coworkers. Any help would be appreciated. . .


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Stop giving awards for perfect attendance!  It sends the wrong message.
  • Conveying the message "stay at home if you're sick" should start at the manager and supervisor levels. Employees are probably more apprehensive about staying out because of their bosses' reaction, rather than because of any company policy.  Have supervisors briefly review your company policies on sick days, etc. for workers and state that absences resulting from legitimate illnesses cannot be held against employees at performance evaluations, etc. Reinforce the message in company communications (intranet, newsletters, etc.)


  • Most of our employees can work from home because they have access to the company network online, so that helps a lot.  It's hard to keep those "warriors" home even with the telecommuting option, but I think some of that comes from some of the managers who are our #1 offending warriors!
  • I think that IrisD and HRgsf have identified the two main keys to making such an employee feel comfortable about staying home.  First, if they have access to company files, e-mail, etc. then they could still accomplish something (even if it's just half a work day) without putting others at risk.  The other issue is that while some of these sick employees are 'warriors' who don't want to fall behind in their work, others are simply afraid of the impression their absence leaves on their boss and will impact their future.  Obviously we don't want anyone taking advantage of a too-permissive environment, but managers/supervisors need to stress that when you're really sick, it's not only "OK" to stay home, you really should--for your sake and for the sake of your co-workers. 
  • I think that IrisD was on the right track, but managers and supervisors must set an example by staying at home when THEY are sick!

    We are a manufacturer, so our plant workers can't telecommute or work at home. 

    However, we have a crosstraining program so two or three workers (in addition to the "swing" people we always have available)  can fill in at running machines and doing processes. Now our workers aren't  worried about missing montly production goals, someone they don't know messing up their work area, etc. and are more willing to stay out when they are sick.

  • For those that have perfect attendance awards like I did at one company, employees will drag themselves in.      I understand why companies offer these type of awards but at the same time it doesn't really help.
  • I have read so many articles lately about how US employees aren't taking enough (or any) time off because they think that time off is looked down upon. I think it's the role of managers to tell their employees that they should not feel guilty about taking time off for vacation or when they are sick. I think that giving enough sick time is another issue...employees may be afraid of using all their sick time so they drag themselves in.
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