August 12, 2015


It seems like my employees are alternating nice days to call in sick and mysteriously come back a little tanner...What can I do to keep them from calling in sick?

Please address. 

Dr. P


Dr. P, this is a very prevalent problem for many practices with "less than devoted" staff, which is most staff.   There are plenty of things you can do to keep employees from calling in sick, and most of them, the ones I'll mention for today's newsletter start with your internal policies.  You should have in place an employee handbook that clearly defines the office's sick leave policy. For our readers in NYC, that now requires 5 days of paid sick time, accruing as of April 1, 2014 (with certain limitations).  Readers from other jurisdictions may also have paid sick time requirements to fulfill, so check particular to location.  You can adopt a policy that employees must adhere to reasonable notice requirements, and/or provide proper medical documentation proving a sick day.  Once you have a policy in place that conforms to applicable law, the key is to enforce it uniformly, no favorites!  

Documentation requirements also means working with your payroll company, service or technology, whatever applies, to make sure you are properly documenting which days for which employees have been utilized as a sick day, and maintain a proper count for how many days have accrued and how many you have to actually pay for.  

Failure to have a proper policy in place AND enforce it results in a lax office with, you guessed it, lax staff who feel pretty comfortable mozy-ing towards the beach on a sunny Wednesday as opposed to their front desk job. Remember, you are running a practice, not a charity - we wouldn't call it work if it was always fun!   

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