Being Off Sick

The local news ran a story regarding the sick policies here in Memphis.

Ever since the paycuts, we’ve had an increase in people being off work sick. Not that I think people are abusing the policy,but even if they are, they are not doing a very good job of hiding it.

As a result, the administration has released a new memo guiding the investigation and prosecution of sick leave abuse. They give a few examples of what would constitute abuse and how they would be handled, including the loss of overtime eligibility, out of rank pay, and promotions. This, of course, has had a negative impact on the hearts and minds of the rank and file.

For those familiar with my situation, I’m not suspected of sick leave abuse. They can come to my house and see why I am off work.

But how many other places have these type of policies? Not many around here, but it would stand to reason that the people complaining the most might be the ones abusing the policy. One commenter on the news page said to stop treating us like children, but when you are being paid to be off, I think they have a right to make sure you really are sick.

Does your department have this sort of policy?

  • It’s been a decade since Office Space, and I can tell you the world has forgotten its lessons. Especially the corporate world, but it appears local governments can be included in this.

    Bob: “Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.”
    Peter: “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”

  • It’s been a decade since Office Space, and I can tell you the world has forgotten its lessons. Especially the corporate world, but it appears local governments can be included in this.

    Bob: “Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.”
    Peter: “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.”

  • Crash2320

    If you are sick or taking care of a sick family member this should be no problem. Being off sick and Golfing or holiday shopping is problematic. Many companies are going to a PTO (paid time off) system incorporating both sick, holiday and personal time into one bank of time. Less management issues but sometimes less overall time for the employee as well. Pro or con. I’m not sure what works the best but I like my freedom to bent decision.

    • And I had PTO time when I was a private paramedic. I worked almost non-stop but it was nice to be able to lump vacations together.

      There is a current proposal that would do that for us here, I don’t agree that we should do vacation lumped into PTO time, I think we should keep the current accrual rate of vacation time (I get 9 days a year, I think the most senior person gets like 15 days) and keep PTO time separate. The size of our organization just wouldn’t allow for combined PTO and vacation due to scheduling requirements.

      Dream world? Maybe.

  • Crash2320

    If you are sick or taking care of a sick family member this should be no problem. Being off sick and Golfing or holiday shopping is problematic. Many companies are going to a PTO (paid time off) system incorporating both sick, holiday and personal time into one bank of time. Less management issues but sometimes less overall time for the employee as well. Pro or con. I’m not sure what works the best but I like my freedom to bent decision.

    • And I had PTO time when I was a private paramedic. I worked almost non-stop but it was nice to be able to lump vacations together.

      There is a current proposal that would do that for us here, I don’t agree that we should do vacation lumped into PTO time, I think we should keep the current accrual rate of vacation time (I get 9 days a year, I think the most senior person gets like 15 days) and keep PTO time separate. The size of our organization just wouldn’t allow for combined PTO and vacation due to scheduling requirements.

      Dream world? Maybe.

  • Duke Powell

    I am a paramedic and a public employee. All public employees need to understand that, given the perception that public employees have a sweet deal, stories like the one coming out of Memphis hurts us immeasurably.
    One of these days, we are going to wake up and find our salaries cut and our pensions slashed and the taxpayer is going to respond with a smirk.

    • I agree, and stories like this cause us to lose the influence to do anything about it.

      We have been lumped into the category of “generic public worker” as opposed to being set apart because most of us in public safety realms work much different hours and take higher risks. Injuries in our field require more recovery time and often more drastic treatments (see “Cancer” tab above).

      I don’t disagree that a reform is needed, but how it is done matters immensely to me.

  • Duke Powell

    I am a paramedic and a public employee. All public employees need to understand that, given the perception that public employees have a sweet deal, stories like the one coming out of Memphis hurts us immeasurably.
    One of these days, we are going to wake up and find our salaries cut and our pensions slashed and the taxpayer is going to respond with a smirk.

    • I agree, and stories like this cause us to lose the influence to do anything about it.

      We have been lumped into the category of “generic public worker” as opposed to being set apart because most of us in public safety realms work much different hours and take higher risks. Injuries in our field require more recovery time and often more drastic treatments (see “Cancer” tab above).

      I don’t disagree that a reform is needed, but how it is done matters immensely to me.

  • firemedic

    Public Safety is completely different than any other industry. Although we can learn from other successful businesses and tweak polices to fit our needs, we need to understand that, sick time is not one of those. We face diseases and exposure more than most and we also need to consider the psychological impact as well. Sometimes taking a mental health day is exactly what is needed after a really bad call. Why should it be my fault that we are short handed? Why should I feel guilty for using sick time that I have earned as part of my employment? It’s not my responsibility to make sure that the equipment is staffed. Government basic job is to protect it’s people and if you had rather have clean Parks and libraries as opposed to someone to respond to a rape or cardiac arrest, then don’t complain when I need to use sick time that I have earned.

    Leaders should concentrate on supporting their employees. Educating the public when to call 911. Cost savings such as stop sending a fire engine with 3 to 4 personal on calls that require two people. Using more economic means such as a pick up truck that gets 18 miles to the gallon replacing a fire engine that gets 2 miles to the gallon. Leaders that fail to address the real problems that the citizens pay them to address are as bad as the stigment itself that public safety is a bunch of guys that watch tv and eat ice cream.