Coffeepot Chatter: Sick Leave

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Harry calls the office.

Maria: Good morning. Office of . . . Harry, is that you? You sound horrible. (Pause.) No, do not come in here today.

Tom (to Maria): Put him on speaker phone.

Harry (coughing): But I have a meeting in the Provost’s office at 2.

Maria: I will call them but I guarantee, they don’t want you there if you are contagious.

Tom: Have you been to a doctor?

Harry: I . . . well . . . no. 

Maria: Go to a doctor, Harry. We don’t want you here if you’re contagious.

Harry: I need to work on the budget.

Tom: It can wait or I will work on it.

Maria: Go to the doctor and rest. We’ll check in with you tomorrow, Harry. Bye. 


You’ve Got The Time…

Here at Lehigh, exempt and nonexempt staff members receive ten sick days per year in the first five years of employment. On July 1 following your fifth anniversary, you are given 15 sick days per year. These days carry over from year to year up to a maximum of 12 weeks. So, if you have a nasty cold, the flu, a stomach bug, laryngitis or some of other malady that will run its course with care, you have paid time off available to get yourself better.

The university’s short-term disability plan, which kicks in after ten days of sick leave, provides even more protection in the case of a serious illness or hospitalization. In other words, your benefits ensure that you won’t take a financial hit if you get sick and need to miss work to get well.


…But, Do You Take The Time?

When someone drags themselves into the office sick, what’s the first thing you think as you hear them coughing: “Gee, what a trooper!” or “Yikes! Stay away from my desk!”? 

Now, imagine you’re the one who is sick. Are you thinking: “I’ve got so much to do! I’ve got to soldier on. They need me!”? Or, is it: “Rest is the only thing that will help me get better, and I sure don’t want anyone else in my office feeling as bad as this on my account.”

Remember, if you’re at work and you’re sick, you aren’t your usual productive self. You may be sharing a virus with other people. And you are lengthening your illness by not stopping and taking the time to give your body the rest it needs. 

The bottom line? If you are truly ill - STAY HOME.


For More Information

•    You can read the exempt and nonexempt sick leave policies here.
•    Learn more about the university’s short term disability policy here.
•    Read what the Centers for Disease Control says to do if you get the flu (hint: It’s not “Go to work.”)