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Should texting in sick be banned?

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HC Online | 07 Nov 2014, 10:52 AM Agree 0
Australian employers are cracking down on employees who email or text when they are too ill to go to work, and are monitoring social media posts which often show that illnesses aren’t genuine.
  • Luc | 07 Nov 2014, 12:05 PM Agree 0
    Get a policy in place setting out sick leave notification guidelines. Attendance improves dramatically where employees have to make a phone call.

    Personally I find the practice of employees texting sickies to be offensive. Employers stand up and don't tolerate it!!
  • Sharon | 07 Nov 2014, 12:39 PM Agree 0
    I find the approach very old fashioned.

    I would like to see the research that says attendance improves if people have to make a phone call.

    What is the difference between a txt and phone call in terms of planning staffing replacement or reallocating tasks as noted in the article? That is plain nonsense.

    Employees using social media to advertise they have taken an illegitimate sickie says quite a bit about the employee, and sure - action should follow that. But if a person is legitimately sick and then goes onto social media while they are resting up in bed... then I see no issue.

    Previously people could 'role play' having a cold over the phone, now they can txt whatever excuse - nothing has changed, just the means. In fact, technology now makes it easier to catch the taker of 'a sickie' if they are silly enough to post whatever else it is they are doing on their illegitimate day off (eg selfie at the beach/fishing etc).

    We need to take a broader view, and instead of assuming employees are dodging work, have a culture that is open, honest and builds employee loyalty - then this sort of this would rarely happen.
  • John | 07 Nov 2014, 12:41 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Luc - there should be a policy in place for employees to follow when communicating sick leave. This policy should also be reflected by management, who should lead by example.

    One way to reduce the number of employee sick days is to improve the environment they are working in so people enjoy being at work and empower individuals to feel like they play an important role in the company.
  • B | 07 Nov 2014, 01:10 PM Agree 0
    Making employees call to advise they will not be attending work is so old school and pre the days when employee engagement came into focus. An engaged and valued employee will not take illegitimate sick days. A stronger bow in your absenteeism armoury me thinks.
  • HR Guru | 07 Nov 2014, 01:43 PM Agree 0
    Just on the social media angle......just because an employee appears on social media whilst absent from work doesn't mean it's not legit.
  • kevin | 07 Nov 2014, 02:02 PM Agree 0
    When you consider the beaurocracy of the whole sick leave process it all boils down to the employer playing "banker" for the employee. If we wanted true productivity and change we would pay the employees their sick leave via salary. Then if they do not attend they don't get paid. I suggest that might focus minds and discretionary effort.
    Lets face it text is just another form of communication. It is the modern way so just accept it.
  • Ronnie | 07 Nov 2014, 02:50 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Luc, we have such a policy in place. it is harder to lie by phone call, easier by text. to the other comments, about old school, you are seriously saying talking to people is old fashioned? you will end up with no communication skills at all if all you do is text and you can't text in sales or any service industry you actually have to look someone in the eye and talk. Maybe answer a phone and have a sensible polite conversation.Bad enough the work situation at the moment and if you can't communicate apart from a text you will really have issues. the next generation will certainly have difficulty if that is the attitude. the stronger bow in the armoury is the policy. Kevin if you want true productivity you need people at work. As far as I am aware employers do pay employees sick leave in their salary, when they are sick. Or did you mean just pay then another 10 days for nothing? wrong attitude guys
  • CJC | 07 Nov 2014, 08:23 PM Agree 0
    Isn't it amazing but, if there is change those you like it simply say the new ways replace an outdated system. A phone call enables an employer to discuss the situation and is two way communication. Policies are an excellent idea but the benefits of a chat certainly beats a text message.
  • caca | 09 Nov 2014, 05:23 PM Agree 0
    I'm with the majority, I don't see a huge issue. Texting or emailing is still notifying. To be honest, I would rather not speak to my manager when I'm unwell. I personally would not text, but I would email.
  • Val | 10 Nov 2014, 03:32 PM Agree 0
    If a person is capable of writing a text message, then they are just as capable of dialing a number and speaking to their boss (unless of course they have completely lost their voice!). Whilst we live in a technological age, it is still important to remember good old fashioned manners.
    Phoning in also gives the boss the opportunity to show concern for the person's wellbeing.
    One shouldn't assume that every boss thinks their staff are "just having a day off".
    You can also add into a policy that either the person or a partner/relative should phone in no later than 1/2 hour after start time to advise that they are unwell. This way the boss is not worried that the staff member has had an accident on the way to work.
  • Bonnie | 12 Feb 2015, 03:36 PM Agree 0
    "Texting in sick" means they're quitting. This just happened to me this morning after my new worker has only worked part time 2 weeks. Not only had she already proven herself incompetent to hold down a job, an easy job, but "had to go home early" on her third day. We have 4 people at my business, so this was bad. Then she just left a voicemail at 8:15pm saying she's quitting. Good because she's fired anyway. You come in puking if you've not proven yourself worthy of your job (worked less than 6 months). Not only is it inconsiderate but also immature. At least have the guts to try and fake a cough! We all know that you're faking. All but two jobs I have had we didn't get paid sick leave. If you called in sick you had to return the next day with a doctor's note. Even if you had the flu you had to call every morning you were staying home sick at least two hours before your shift, preferably the night before, and try to get someone to cover for you. A job is a responsibility. If you get the flu you will be sick 7-10 days, and usually super sick for 3 days. If you take a week off you've abandoned your job. Once again I will reiterate...come in puking. It's usually just a little food poisoning or a hangover. We used to call that "The 24 hour flu". We pretend there is such a thing to save face for the kids. There is no such thing as the 24 hour flu. You have to be a grown up to maintain a job. That means taking some Dayquil and working anyway so you may support yourself. 18-30 year old "Kids" still live with their folks these days so they really don't understand what is it to be an adult. I really think they all need to be cut off, but as a business owner who talks every day to other business owners and managers will tell you how desperate we are for workers. Most small business owners are giving up taking on apprentices, or bother training new employees and just doing their craft, sales, service or production by themselves, usually with outsourcing, knowing full well they are the last ones. Who are these people who can't talk? I've had the worst laryngitis and still strained my voice to try and communicate. No one owes you a job. "Those who do not work do not eat."-Proverbs
  • Robin | 16 Feb 2015, 07:24 AM Agree 0
    Wow, this certainly got some response. Whilst technology has changed over the years, the need for good manners and courtesy is very much alive and well and expected. Texting or emailing is plainly avoiding having to actually speak to someone = a guilty conscience in my book. The number of employers who have to deal with errant employees who text "sick",,, "still sick" do not answer or reply to phone calls --- yes employers have a business to run and need to manage manpower -- often because they've just been disciplined about something, didn't like it and decided to go on an extended sickie bender because they couldn't take the heat, is far higher than most realise. I say no texts and make it clear just what is expected of all employees if they are unable to come to work.
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