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Good Question: Should We Just Get Rid Of Sick Days?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The average worker gets eight days of sick leave a year, but most people take between three and six.

So as more companies combine personal, vacation and sick days into one pot, should we just do away with sick days?

“I think that’s a decision that’s should be left to each individual company,” said Chris Dardis, a vice-president at Versique, an HR staffing and consulting firm.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 61 percent of private industry workers get some sort of sick leave, but how it’s given is changing.

“It’s starting to migrate from a sick leave policy to an employee choice,” Dardis said.

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found 29 percent of companies combined personal, sick and vacation days into PTO, or paid time off. By 2012, the number of companies increased to 52 percent.

Dardis believes the PTO system is easier from an administrative standpoint to track.

“It almost empowers the employee where they don’t necessarily feel like they’re being micromanaged, where they are being treated like adults and they can make conscious decisions to use those days,” he said.

But Keith Engelmann of Chicago says: “It hurts someone like me that doesn’t take advantage. It eats into my vacation if I’m sick.”
With all of the difference in plans, including what days workers can rollover, it’s hard to quantify which policy encourages people to take more time away from work.

But studies have shown, 47 percent of people admit to using a sick day for vacation.

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