On sick days.

 

It is always a bit of an ego boost when a study backs up something you have long suspected.

I have written before about the idea that a lot of times without our knowing it, especially here on Cape Cod where the service industry is a big employer, we have no idea that we are being exposed to whatever germs a sick person showing up for work might pass on to us.

It is one of the reasons that I support the practice of earned sick days which are not gifts as they are earned.

This earned part is often ignored by people that just like to oppose things.

A person works so many days, and earns so many hours that they can use without penalty if they are ill.

Without it, a person may report to work sick because they cannot afford to lose a day’s pay.

Now a study by NFS International shows that more than one in four Americans are so afraid of missing work, they show up even when sniffling and sneezing.

The reason for this is because many workers are afraid of falling behind, do not want to miss pay, or would prefer not to face the wrath of bosses who expect them to show up no matter what.

The report found that nearly 20% of Americans report always showing up for work while sick, while 17% say they stay home only if a doctor orders them to.

"A majority of Americans indicate the major reason is because of workload. Many have deadlines or are afraid they will have too much work to make up if they take a sick day”.

When it came to the sexes, 33% of men said they just fight through their illness and 17% of women said they do.

The determining factor for 25% of workers is that their bosses expect them to show up even while battling a bug.

Union contracts contain sick days so that workers who are ill can stay home and avoid spreading any infections throughout the office which could affect productivity. But, most non-union workplaces do not allow for sick days, and this affects an employee's decision to go to work despite feeling ill.

The survey headed by the NSF International, an independent public health and environmental group, included 1,003 adults of which 502 were men, and participants were aged 18 or over and lived within the United States.

The survey was conducted from January 23 to January 26, 2014.

Outwardly, some colleagues say they are not all that bothered when sick workers show up at work. They don’t seem to mind that they are being exposed to whatever is going to make them sick and miserable. More than two-thirds of those surveyed view sick co-workers as "hard workers."

But, researchers also found, in spite of their saying they are not bothered, 815 of those surveyed stated that they cared when a fellow co-worker came to work sick, and would speak up.

57% stated that they would specifically ask the sick co-worker to go home; 36% said they would not want to shake their sick co-worker's hand; 26% said that they would ask their co-worker to avoid their work space; and 24% would not share their work supplies.

But, otherwise, they said they had no problems with it.

They also found that of workers in the 18 to 34 age range 53% were the most likely to disinfect their area after a sick co-worker left. It was less for other age groups.

"Only 16% of workers felt that colleagues who came to work sick were selfish and didn't care about the well-being of their co-workers, and 13% believed co-workers come to work sick because they don't trust their colleagues to do the job while they are out”.


 

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