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Take the high road?
Old 08-19-2009, 11:12 AM   #1
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Take the high road?

I'm so excited - DH and I have decided that in 6 months I can ER. (I'm ready to walk out the door right now!) But I have a small moral dilemma. I've been with this organization (local govt) for 9 years and all but 3 people in our dept. have been here longer than me. I have accrued over 400 hrs. in sick time (54 days actually) while all the other folks (except the boss) have less than 100 hrs. Actually, there are several who use it almost as quickly as they accrue it.

So do I take the high road and just let all those sick days go to waste (there is no incentive not to use them) when I leave? Two men who retired from this dept in the last few years used up every bit of sick time they had before they left. I feel like it would be wrong to call in sick when not sick but then also feel like a chump for not using benefits I earned. I don't want to burn any bridges or cause ill feelings with my boss but I'm not sure what to do. Seems like you should be rewarded for being a reliable, dedicated employee instead of penalized...
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:20 AM   #2
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Any chance they'd pay you for them (or a portion thereof)?
I would be tempted to use some of them between now and then, but not enough to create a problem for your workmates.
There are differing feelings about these kinds of things--one of the best ideas I saw implemented was at a non-profit where I worked. We got 15 days a year, period. We could use them for vacation, illness, personal time, whatever. And we got paid for a percentage of accrued days off that we hadn't used when we left.

Good system, never seen it again. I have no idea how many days I can take off at my current job. Never seemed to be a problem.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:21 AM   #3
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I I feel like it would be wrong to call in sick when not sick
I think this says it all. Even after ER, you still have to look in the mirror and (hopefully) like what you see.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:37 AM   #4
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Can you donate your unused sick time to people in your department who might need more?

I worked for a major university for several years and never used any of my sick time. When I left, I was given the choice to donate my sick time to other employees who needed it, usually people with illnesses requiring lengthy treatments and more sick days than they had accumulated.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:43 AM   #5
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Or, can you use the time to schedule needed physicals, tests, procedures, etc?

Get all your medical & dental work done before you exit.

A few mental health days wouldn't hurt you, even if you don't want to be out for 10 weeks worth of sick time.

ta,
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:00 PM   #6
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We can't donate our sick time, can't get paid for them (not even partial)...it's use them or lose them. Heaven knows I sure could use some mental health days. Sometimes having a conscience is a pain in the rear!
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
There are differing feelings about these kinds of things--one of the best ideas I saw implemented was at a non-profit where I worked. We got 15 days a year, period. We could use them for vacation, illness, personal time, whatever. And we got paid for a percentage of accrued days off that we hadn't used when we left.

Good system,
Completely agree w/ you. My megacorp got rid of the old system before I
got there and provided FTO (flexible time off) days like you described.
Was great if you didn't get physically sick and didn't cheat. Got paid for
all non-used days when you left.
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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On those days that you just don't feel like getting up for work, take a sick day. Need to run errands and go to the doc or dentist or pick up RX's? Use a sick day. It's too hot/cold/wet/snowy to go to work, use a sick day. It is an employee benefit that you have accrued for working there so why not use it?

My DW can also use her sick leave to take care of ailing relatives (me or the kids or her parents). Presumably pets would be included as well. Would that fly under your policy.

Though I wouldn't milk the system to the point of making my coworkers pick up the slack (well at least the conscientious ones).

We moved to a "paid time off" system that got rid of sick leave for this very reason. Some employees would use up all 5 days every year while some would never use any.
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:34 PM   #9
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I had about 1000 hours, or 4 months of 'sick leave' time on the books when I retired. Time accumulated from year to year and never expired, and rolled over when my old company was acquired, so this represented almost 20 years worth of sick leave. Company policy was that not more than 4 days could be taken without seeing a doctor, so the absolute most slack I could do would be four days off, one on. Now, at the time, I was telecommuting 4 days a week, and showing up one day a week.

I suggested to my manager, as a friendly sort of chain-yanking, that I might find myself ill several days a week for the last few months, but could probably still show up one day a week.

I don't think he was all that amused. Oh, and I actually kept doing work on the telecommuting days.
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:44 PM   #10
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I always felt fortunate that I had generous paid sick leave if I needed it. I have not had to use much knock-wood so I have several months saved up. If we are absent for 3 consecutive days, we have to return with a doctor's excuse. We get paid twenty-five dollars a day for unused sick leave when we retire. We cannot donate it to someone else(you can donate your vacation days to a sick colleague if an appeal goes out for this). Personally, I would not take the days just for the sake of taking them. But as others have suggested, maybe get your physical, dental, medical tests up-to-date. And maybe take an isolated mental health day here and there when the office is quiet. I don't think one ever regrets taking the high road.
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:40 PM   #11
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2 words - Use it.

I would not get paid for any unused sick leave when I FIREd.
I had a lot less than you did (60 hours or so), so I used it legitimately for some chiropractor appts and also just because I could. I still made sure my deadlines were met.
My supervisor actually asked me for an upfront schedule of all of the sick leave I planned to use. So I gave it to him. I scheduled it mostly in the late afternoon so morning meetings would not be impacted.
As long as you don't go overboard and leave someone else stuck with projects or deadlines you should handle, why not?
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:44 PM   #12
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As long as you don't go overboard and leave someone else stuck with projects or deadlines you should handle, why not?
Exactly. You are a salaried employee with a benefits package, one of which is sick leave. You are not an independent contractor nor do you get paid as well as one. Use it to the extent feasible/possible without unduly burdening your coworkers (unless you hate them, then go Machiavellian on them).
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:49 PM   #13
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I would say what is the company (or gvmt?) view on this.... as others have mentioned, some are OK with it and others not...

One place where I worked you did not get 'paid' for them, but your last day of work was X days prior to your official last day which was your sick days.. so in effect you did get paid for them..

Another did not allow any accumulation... you were allocated days each year and lost them each year... this same place tried the all inclusive but found that people took off more as the ones who did not take off when they were sick (like me) did not have a problem taking off days that were given to me 'for anything'....

My current employer does not give sick days... because of the abuse of people wanting mental health days... but the boss is very liberal if you are sick... one guy missed about 60 days last year because of his wife being sick.... the rest of his group had to cover the slack, but were willing to do it since it could have been them...


I would do like others have said... take a half day here and there... or if a deadline is not near... take a couple off.... you should not have to give it all up... you did mention that others 'use' theirs when they get it.... so they have no problem sticking you with the extra work... taking off time when they are not sick...
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Old 08-19-2009, 04:06 PM   #14
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The reason I gave the answer I did earlier in the post is because the sick leave policy where I work has been changed in recent years for new hires because of sick leave abuse by some of the old fossils(like me, but I don't do it). I get a lot of sick leave days under my contract but newer hires get only 5 paid days. Some of them are young single Moms, pregnant ladies, people battling cancer or a spouse with a grave illness, ladies off six weeks with a hysterectomy, etc. They are really pinched especially as they also get fewer vacations days under the new contract. I think so far this year I have left early for two dental appointments but have not called off for a full day. I would give away my sick time if I could, but it is not permitted. I have donated unused vacation time.
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Old 08-19-2009, 04:28 PM   #15
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I would give away my sick time if I could, but it is not permitted. I have donated unused vacation time.
You are a good and kind person.

mew
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Old 08-19-2009, 04:40 PM   #16
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Today I was trying to get my supervisor to let me out of having to travel for work next month, on a trip that I really dread for a number of reasons. She suggested quite seriously that I should call in sick on the day the plane leaves. That really floored me.

I don't know if I'll do it. I suggested someone else who might actually *want* to travel to that location and so there is always the (faint) chance that I might not have to go.
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:02 PM   #17
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If you have truly "accrued" the hours, you are entitled to them. If you can't roll them over from year to year, cash them out, or actually take the time off as terminal leave you haven't really "accrued" them- you've just kept a running total of available sick time hours you are not going to be able to use... Understand your dedication; it is admirable, but your co-wokers all figured out how to use theirs; were they concerned about you picking up the slack for them when they were out?

If you don't get paid for them and can't donate them, you might try calling in with anal astigmatism...

"I just can't see my a$$ coming in today."
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Old 08-19-2009, 05:06 PM   #18
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If I were you and couldn't donate them, I wouldn't even consider using them at this point. Think of them as proof that you won the health lottery.

PS--congratulations on your six-month countdown!!! Awesome!
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:00 PM   #19
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I'd take a few practice for retirement days (Formerly known as mental health days ).
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Old 08-19-2009, 06:04 PM   #20
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I would use them up. They are part of your benefit. $ince they offer no other way to redeem them.
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