Monday, March 14, 2016

Paid Sick Days: Insurance or Extra Vacation Days?

Here are some questions for all of you that work outside the home or for an employer.  What factors into whether or not you take a sick day or buck up and drag yourself out the door? Are you of the mindset that sick days are a form of insurance, and you only use them if they are in need?  Alternatively, do you figure that if you’ve accrued the time, any malady is fair game for a reason to stay home, even if not an illness at all? Does having access to short term disability make a difference? 

I ask these things to myself, but am pondering them out loud through my computer key board. I’ve never had short term disability before, and have always been fearful of a long, illness kicking in with no regular cash flow due to the loss of wages.  While at my last job, long term kicked in at 60 days, so not having enough sick time accrued to cover that length of time, give or take a couple days, made me nervous. I left the job with 320 hours, the max an employee could accrue, and no benefit, no payout for those unused days when I left.  I had piece of mind though that my family would not suffer a hard ship should I have gotten very ill or injured.  One pregnancy and four significant illnesses during my tenure made me value that sick time bank. Now, I have a 67% salary replacement benefit, not subject to taxes because it is an optional, post-tax benefit. I’ve also accrued nearly three weeks of sick leave.  Yet, here I am feeling quite poorly after over doing the lifting, and bending, and hauling this weekend, and eating some food choices that are not agreeing with my stomach. I had the anxiety induced insomnia, not able to calm my brain down from over thinking about some challenges ahead for a loved one, so I would like nothing more than to crawl under the covers and have a “duvet” day as Thrift Deluxe calls them across the ocean.

But, I’m not sick.  It’s just the normal complaints of life women of a certain age, fitness level, and disposition get every now and then. While I know there are others, most people I’ve worked with in fact, that would easily have stayed home, I showered, pulled on comfortable yet professional clothes, and will be at my desk most of the day. I’m plowing through projects, as it is very quiet here as many others are having absent days and it is the start of spring break season. I’m just on a little break right now to heat up and eat a bite of leftovers and throw these questions out there.  I know I said I would take at least one sick day this month, but I haven’t felt a strong enough urge to do so yet. I’m not a martyr but some voice in me says that is testing fate to take a sick day on a so-so illness day. It’s asking for both shoes to fall, resulting in me or someone close to me falling very ill and me needing time at that point, then feeling overwhelmed because I fell behind. I turn back my original questions to you all. I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject.  


  1. Since I work FROM home for an employer, I can look as disgusting as I want. My desk currently does... But if I've got a horrible headache, I just have to let someone know that I'm going to go lay down. It's VERY rare that I need to do that.

    1. I think if I worked from home all the time, it would be rare for me as well. Too many sounds and my commute can be stressful some days.


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