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Old 16 December 2018, 08:59 PM
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Richard W Richard W is offline
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 26,404

Originally Posted by UrbanLegends101 View Post
Yes, that is the primary intent of sick leave. What I think happened is that many people were found to abusing sick leave, that is, claiming sick leave for one or two day absences from work instead of using annual leave and by being able to have unused sick leave credited to service time, there were be far less incentive to abuse sick leave.
But another thing about the USA system that's alien to us in the UK (and Europe) is the stupidly small amounts of annual leave you tend to get. Ten days is typical, I believe? In the UK it's generally twice that - twenty days - and it tends to accumulate upwards with time. My current job, that I've just started, gave 25 days annual leave as a basic benefit. (That's good even here, as a starting number of days - often you'd start with fewer and gain more over time). This is in addition to public holidays - we have six days of fixed bank / public holiday, which is (I believe) lower than in the USA or some European countries, so that makes a difference too.

If you've got enough leave in the first place, you don't need to pretend to be ill in order to take a day off here and there. In companies that I've worked in, people tend to have the opposite problem - it's the days of untaken leave that accumulate, rather than what you call "sick days". There are policies about not carrying over too much leave here, as well.

But, as Hans says, the idea of sick days, and sick pay, is that you can take them when you're genuinely ill. There's a degree of proof involved, but it's supposed to protect you when you can't work for one reason or another.

It relies on employees not taking the piss, you're right, but most people don't - and if you're genuinely unable to come into work and need to take sick days for mental health reasons, those are proper sick days, to me, too. (I've very rarely taken a sick day on those grounds - maybe one or two in my career. In the past I've even, a couple of times in one particular job that I remember, taken hangovers as holiday later, after phoning in sick at the time, and the reasons for the hangovers were as close to mental health breaks as makes no difference, yet I didn't take them as sick days).

If you don't have enough holiday in the first place to be able to have days off when you need them, then that's also a bit alien to us in the UK. But good news - after Brexit we'll be able to understand much better what you mean by this stuff too. Hooray for international understanding!
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