In the United States, there is no federal law that requires companies to offer paid sick leave for their employees. Some cities and states do require sick leave, but many don’t. Regardless, it’s usually a standard benefit that comes with employment. Some companies offer accrued time off that is specifically for sick leave while others combine sick leave and PTO together.
But why should companies offer it at all? It can be easy to think that it’s better for the company’s bottom line to not pay employees when they aren’t working. Plus, there’s the fear that offering sick days will encourage employees to fake being sick. However, offering sick leave is actually very beneficial to companies as well as their employees.
Healthy employees are productive employees. Sick employees are not. If your company doesn’t offer sick days, many employees will decide not to stay home to avoid losing out on pay. This means they’ll come into the office sick and try to work, but won’t be as efficient or productive.
The company will end up benefiting more from letting an employee take one day off and losing the work from that one day. The employee can rest, get better, and then return to work refreshed and more productive instead of producing more days of lesser-quality work.
Offering sick leave actually ends up reducing the overall number of sick days taken. When your employees are able to stay home from work when they’re sick, they are able to rest and get better faster. Plus, they don’t infect your other staff, which would result in more employees needing to take days off from work.
There are pros and cons to both options. Some companies prefer to keep PTO and sick leave separate, while others would rather bundle them together. Which you choose to offer depends on your company culture and employees.
Some employees prefer to have their PTO and sick leave bundled together. For people who don’t get sick often, this results in them having more days that they can take as PTO. However, this could also result in the same problem as not offering sick leave at all. Employees may not want to use their sick days because they want to save them for vacation, resulting in them coming in to work sick.
Other employees prefer to have their PTO and sick leave separate. People who don’t use very many sick days may feel like those days are wasted, however. Some may call in sick even if they aren’t in order to use the days. This can result in a surprise absence instead of a planned one.
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