When a coworker calls in sick...

...do you believe them or assume they're just playing hookie?

My poor husband and son were both really sick last week with bronchitis, and an ear infection for my son too. My husband went into work Mon/Tues/Wed but ended up working from home on Mon and Wed afternoons. Thursday he called in and I took them both to the doctor. He got his diagnosis and started antibiotics Thursday night. He called in again on Friday because he still wasn't feeling well and because he hadn't been on the AB's a full 24 hours so he could have been contagious.

He returned to work on Monday, as did his boss who had been out of town last week. Apparently, there had been rumors flying around the office that he was off interviewing for other jobs! His boss called him in to ask him about it. He assured her that he really was sick and he has no intention of going anywhere - he recently even volunteered to be the Treasurer of the Office Association or whatever it's called.

The same thing happened a few months ago when our friend's mother died and he took an afternoon off to attend the memorial service. It was a nice day outside and his boss accused him of cutting out early to go golfing (my husband HATES golf!). He offered to even bring in the pamphlet from the memorial service for her.

It's a shame so many people abuse the calling-in-sick thing so that people who really are sick aren't trusted.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
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I assume my coworkers are playing hookie. I've worked with a guy for the last 4 years who has called in probably 200 times in that span. No joke. He even called in yesterday and I don't expect I'll be seeing him today either.
If someone calls off frequently or almost always calls off during busy periods, I'm assuming you're playing hooky.

On the upside, (at my job anyway) one can get terminated for too many call-offs that don't have a Doctor's note, so it cuts down on that a bit.
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Your husband works in somewhat of a dysfunctional work place. To be questioned like that really infantilizes him and just seems unprofessional.

It's a shame that it has come to this, but he needs to be proactive and bring in whatever documentation supports why he was out.
The staff I have now, I totally trust. They are always at work early and stay late, and I know they really like their jobs! If they're sick, they call early and are always back the next day, if not they offer to bring a Drs note - which I have never asked for.

In the past I have had staff I didn't trust, but it was based on overall performance rather then a one time call in.
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I've never put any thought into it. I don't care either way.

I've learned to hate other people doing this. DH got in trouble at work for that once. His stupid boss didn't even stop to think how plausible it was
Another thought is that in some industries, doctor's notes are required. In others, you're taken on your word and what you do with your alloted sick time is your business.

btw, I always had a hard time calling in sick when I was legitimately sick. I was always paranoid that people thought I was playing hookie. So I'd schlep into work with my nasty germs. It's a catch-22.
Another thought is that in some industries, doctor's notes are required. In others, you're taken on your word and what you do with your alloted sick time is your business.

btw, I always had a hard time calling in sick when I was legitimately sick. I was always paranoid that people thought I was playing hookie. So I'd schlep into work with my nasty germs. It's a catch-22.
Originally Posted by medussa
Exactly! That is why I love that our company just gives you a bank of days that you can use however you want. You just have to input it 24 hours in advance - if you don't that is called an unscheduled one and if you have a lot of those then there might be an issue. Due to this change I now have 26 days a year I can use!!!! I try to hold out and keep 5 just in case I am sick but I love having all those days! And that does not include our paid holidays.
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In the past I have had staff I didn't trust, but it was based on overall performance rather then a one time call in.
Originally Posted by CurlyCanadian
That's the thing - my husband is a really good employee who works hard, plays by the rules, and hits his numbers (he's in sales). I think there's a lot of jealousy/competition among him and his coworkers so that could be part of it too.

He offered to bring a doctor's note for his boss but she said it wasn't necessary, she believes him.
Faith, 3Aish redhead
Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
And technically all of my husband's days count as "Flexible Time Off" so there's no different between sick and vacation. Just "planned" vs "unplanned" FTO. So in theory, if he called in and said "I'm taking an unplanned FTO day" and never claimed to be sick, I don't think it would be against the rules even if he wasn't sick.
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Mama to two wild superheroes and a curly-headed baby boy
I share an office with a bunch of workaholics. If they call in sick, they must be oozing out of every orifice and physically cannot move. Sometimes people come in, and they clearly aren't in a state to be touching things that other people touch or breathing air that other people breathe, and I'm like, GO HOME! (I realize this isn't feasible for many people who are hourly and don't get paid when they don't work, but everyone in my office is salaried and gets plenty of sick days).

I had a cold a couple of weeks ago. I suppose I *could* have gone to work, but I knew I wouldn't be very productive, so I called in sick and spent the day watching DVDs. The next day, I still felt crummy, so I called in sick again. Then it was the weekend. When I returned to work the following Monday, I had emails from my boss sent on the first day I was out sick with a list of things to do the next day (apparently he did not expect me to be out for more than one day). I felt bad because it was a busy period and I was physically able to sit at my desk and work, but I would have been miserable. But we are a "for the greater good of the mission" type of an office, and I don't think calling in sick is seen as a legitimate use of a day.
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in all honesty, i don't care how my colleagues use their sick/vacation time. i don't care if they call in sick to have a day of leisure. and while i don't wish for anyone to be sick, if they are really sick and at home/doctor's, i don't give it much consideration when they are out or when they return. and i don't expect others to be focused on my comings and goings, as it's none of their business.

my sick/vacation and personal time off is mine. if i want to use a sick day to have a day of leisure, that is my business. my job doesn't micromanage us and doesn't require us to show proof of doctor's visits or anything like that. so i don't have to lie or exaggerate about my intentions when i request a day off. i just say that i need a day/afternoon/morning off and leave it at that. and when it's time to fill out my time report, i document those periods/days the way i want to.

i think it's juvenile to be in someone else's business to the point where you make conjectures about what they are doing when they are away from work, start rumors based on those assumptions, and then have management interrogate them as if those conclusions are true.

personally, i'd be more miffed that my supervisor would believe "interview" talk and actually call me in to ask me about it, than i would be with the busy bodies who actually started the rumor.

ok. mini rant over. hope your family feels better.
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I can't stand this mentality either. I grew up in a household where we kids were allowed to take what my mom called "mental health" days if we wanted to, 1, maybe 2, times a year. This meant laying around and watching TV, but not needing to be physically sick.

Someone needs a day off, for whatever reason, it's really nobody's business. Unless it's a persistent abuse of the situation.
And technically all of my husband's days count as "Flexible Time Off" so there's no different between sick and vacation. Just "planned" vs "unplanned" FTO. So in theory, if he called in and said "I'm taking an unplanned FTO day" and never claimed to be sick, I don't think it would be against the rules even if he wasn't sick.
Originally Posted by PixieCurl

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it, especially given this and that his boss trusts him.

We have actual separate sick and vacation leave. When I interview, I take vacation leave just so that I don't leave people wondering. It's just sort of sneaky.
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Well from knowing my coworkers so far, if one of them called in I would believe they were feeling pretty dang bad, they aren't the type to play hooky. On the other hand I've worked at places where people called in sick at least once a week. One place this lady would call in sick every other Monday (and sometimes Tuesday) because her husband worked one week and then was off for one, so every Monday he was home, like clockwork she was "sick". I would have had more respect for her if she would have called in and said why she was really staying home.
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...so every Monday he was home, like clockwork she was "sick". I would have had more respect for her if she would have called in and said why she was really staying home.
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
but why should she have to say anything to anyone? if she planned to use only vacation time to be home with her husband on those mondays, would you still prefer that she say how she plans to spend her day off? why does she have to satisfy anyone's curiosity about what she plans to do away from work?

to me, it goes back to those things being none of my business.

most people earn their sick and vacation time based on actual continuous hours worked. so once they've earned it, no one should even bother to wonder why or how they use it, sick or vacation. that's just me.
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I can't stand this mentality either. I grew up in a household where we kids were allowed to take what my mom called "mental health" days if we wanted to, 1, maybe 2, times a year. This meant laying around and watching TV, but not needing to be physically sick.

Someone needs a day off, for whatever reason, it's really nobody's business. Unless it's a persistent abuse of the situation.
Originally Posted by wild~hair
*guano*

my mom did this for us and I do this for my kids. Do you get flack for it from other people? Some folks think because kids dont have adult concerns they dont get stressed and need days off.

sorry to guano your thread.
...so every Monday he was home, like clockwork she was "sick". I would have had more respect for her if she would have called in and said why she was really staying home.
Originally Posted by Amandacurls
but why should she have to say anything to anyone? if she planned to use only vacation time to be home with her husband on those mondays, would you still prefer that she say how she plans to spend her day off? why does she have to satisfy anyone's curiosity about what she plans to do away from work?

to me, it goes back to those things being none of my business.

most people earn their sick and vacation time based on actual continuous hours worked. so once they've earned it, no one should even bother to wonder why or how they use it, sick or vacation. that's just me.
Originally Posted by rainshower
ITA

Mental health days are just has needed as sick days.
I'd much rather someone take a day off to recharge the batteries, then have someone snapping at me all week because they're stressed out. Stress kills! Not only physically, it can destroy you mentally if you don't keep it in check.

In that situation, I would wonder more about why her boss didn't make that her day off under the circumstances.
It depends entirely on the person. I have about a dozen people who, when they call out, they call out to me directly. I know those guys well enough to know who would and if they're bullishing me. And as long as they're not completely screwing me and my schedule, then I don't care. They're adults, and I'm they're supervisor-- not their mother. If they have the days and they want to use them, I don't really care what their reason is.

Personally, I wouldn't ever take a day off without actually needing it or scheduling ahead of time, just because I would be racked with guilt over the possibility of someone else having to pick up the slack left by me not being there. A big portion of my job is the kind of work that can't just sit and wait for me to get back, someone has to fill in for me. So when I'm not there, especially when I'm not there and it's unexpected, it's a burden on someone else so some degree. I'm not really cool with that.

I will, however, take scheduled days off to do nothing. If I schedule for it then I can make sure that the person who's picking up my slack in my absence is fully prepared for it and has everything hey need in order to operate smoothly. I did this right around New Years; I took two days off which, coupled with the one day of holiday we get and the weekend, amounted to five straight days of not having to haul my arse into the office. It was awesome. I will absolutely do it again.
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I can't stand this mentality either. I grew up in a household where we kids were allowed to take what my mom called "mental health" days if we wanted to, 1, maybe 2, times a year. This meant laying around and watching TV, but not needing to be physically sick.

Someone needs a day off, for whatever reason, it's really nobody's business. Unless it's a persistent abuse of the situation.
Originally Posted by wild~hair
*guano*

my mom did this for us and I do this for my kids. Do you get flack for it from other people? Some folks think because kids dont have adult concerns they dont get stressed and need days off.

sorry to guano your thread.
Originally Posted by Aphro-Deeziac
That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Kids have plenty of stress, it's just different. If anything they could have it worse, because they probably haven't learned the skills needed to take care of themselves yet or the life experience to put it all in perspective. Adults can handle the big stresses because we survived the stress of growing up.

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