Are you sick? Well, that may depend on your organization’s definition of a paid “sick” day. According to the International Foundation Paid Leave in the Workplace: 2017 Results, reasons for sick days by corporate and public employers in the United States may be expanding.

That’s Not a Sick Day! Or Is It?

As sick day policies become more flexible, organizations are easing the stresses of everyday life resulting in healthier workplaces and perhaps fewer sick days being used for sickness.

[Related: Ancillary Benefit Plans—October 11-12, 2017, San Jose, California]

Here’s a look at scenarios that expand the definition of sick leave:

  • It’s 5:45 a.m. and you’ve been up all night pushing fluids into your flu-ridden child. According to the results of Paid Leave in the Workplace, more than three out of four (77.7%) responding employers will grant you a paid sick day to care for your child.
  • Should your spouse or domestic partner have an accident, requiring your personal assistance, again more than three out of four (76.4%) employers will give you permission to use a sick day to tend to your loved one.
  • If the caregiver for your mother-in-law calls in sick and you are needed to fill in for the day, nearly half (48.6%) of employers have you covered using sick time to care for extended family members—making both your spouse and his or her mother happy!
  • Your visits to the doctors have become far from routine, because when could you go? Doctor visits or medical appointments are also paid as sick time by most (83.2%) employers.
  • Going to the dentist is no vacation, nor need it be—77.1% of responding employers allow sick time to be used for dental appointments.
  • When your arms are suddenly not long enough to read your text messages, it may be time for a vision check. Your visit to the eye doctor is covered by sick time by 72.6% of the organizations surveyed.

As we bid the summer farewell and sign up for our annual flu shots, remember to save at least a few of those remaining sick days . . . just in case the next strain of the flu bug makes its way around your office!

Teri Dougherty
Research Analyst at the International Foundation

Teri Dougherty, CEBS

Research Analyst at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Favorite Foundation service/product: Today’s Headlines. Teri loves getting to read all of the day’s benefits news as part of her job. Favorite Foundation conference experience: A week well spent attending the Essentials of Multiemployer Trust Fund Administration—The collection of speakers was so good she had no problem giving the program a 10 on the evaluation. Benefits related topics that interest her most: Everything wellness from disease prevention to finding ways to boost energy!  You will often find a large green drink at Teri’s desk! Personal insight: No worries of a distracted conversation with Teri—her idea of multitasking is combining a good talk with physical activity and plenty of laughter. From a lunchtime walk to swimming across a lake, she’s always on the move with a friend nearby.

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