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Paid Time Off

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  • Paid Time Off

    Where I work, we accrue sick days and vacation days separately. The rules are that vacation time must be something planned in advance and approval from the supervisor (I'm the lucky one!) is required. Sick time, is of course, sick time....time in which you did not anticipate being out but need to be due to unforeseen health related circumstances.

    The other manager in my area and I were talking a few weeks ago about an employee who will need to be out to care for her grandson after he has a surgery. He asked me if I thought she should be able to use sick time. I said yes. I reminded him that we have other employees who take off to care for sick grandchildren and use sick time. I also reminded him that we have employees who have kids who are 16 and 17 years old and they call in sick if their kids are home sick from school. I gotta say, my parents didn't do that. By the time I was 16 and had my license, unless I was INCREDIBLY ill, no one took off work to stay home with me.

    Anyway, then the topic came up of pets. There are people in my office, like myself, who are single (unmarried), don't have kids, and have an indoor dog who I love dearly and consider very much a part of my family. He mentioned that he didn't think an employee should be able to use sick time if their pet is sick. Now......don't get me wrong.......I don't stay home with my dog if she has a sniffle, and most dogs are very rarely ill.........but if she has vomiting and diarrhea I am NOT leaving her at home where she cannot let herself out when she needs to go. And, quite frankly, I do not believe I should have to count that as a vacation day. I have an employee who's dog gets a "fever" that is characteristic of her breed. When she has a flare up, her legs swell, she runs a very high fever, can barely walk, and pee's/poo's everywhere. She has learned how to keep it at bay and minimize the effects of it, IF she is there to care for the dog. Should she have to use a vacation day for that?

    What are your thoughts on the matter? Try to put aside whether you're an animal person or not.
    "Be what you're looking for."

  • #2
    I think that this is changing dramatically. Animal rights groups and animal lover employees are influencing changes in the policies of offices across the country.

    I've been fortunate to be able to take my dogs to work with me. Many offices are allowing that now, as a perk. If they're sick, they can be crated and cleaned up after pretty easily in the office.

    There's also the fact that a sick pet can be day boarded with the vet for a pretty nominal fee, even if ill. Most vets will allow that.

    I have mixed feelings really. I think in general the time off policies for most of us are horrible, so if we can allow the flexibility here, we should. Ultimately the policies stated in the handbook must be adhered to. If there's nothing specific about pets, then depending on the circumstances, I'd allow it. If the staff member uses all their sick time, they just don't get paid for any additional time right? So, it's their loss if they overuse it.

    I have worked at 2 places where time off was not allowed for even a sick child. That just brought about lying and increasing stress and dissatisfaction with the young moms I worked with.

    In my last couple jobs, getting ANY time off except sick time, was difficult and usually not granted because of low staffing. Every year, many hours of unused time off were lost. One girl I knew lost over a week of her PTO because it was denied every time she requested. Many people resorted to just calling in sick every day they needed off.

    I think in general if the standing policy allows for loosely defined sick time, then allow it for pets. If there's a doctor note required for 2 days, let it be a dvm note.
    they're doctors! Lol

    I think work life balance needs to take priority.


    • #3
      The changing face of the corporate world. I was fired once for taking time off to stay with my daughter when she developed bronchial asthma and was hospitalized for over a week when she was 2 years old. Things have changed, places of business are much more accepting of parental leave, personal leave, etc. Is there any way that employees could bank overtime to take in lieu of unforeseen days off? If they didn't use it then they could be paid out. You could negotiate a cap on the number of days allowed outside of sick leave and vacation.


      • #4
        would say it depends on your workplace
        where husband works, they just started paying for unused sick time, so they are encouraging it not to be used

        when our previous dog had surgery with stitches and then husband went out of town,
        I wrapped her in a big blanket, put her in back seat of my car and took her to work

        checked on her several times, she looked pitiful but didn't move (for my 4 hr shift)
        I had fretted over what to do as I couldn't call off since I opened the place in the morn



        • #5
          Because my former employer paid for unused sick time after a year of banking it, I used sick time in only four years out of thirty years of employment. I didn't burn any at the end and left eighty hours on the books - the max - which I did not get paid for. There was also forty hours of personal time available. Unused personal time was also paid. I rarely used it. Personal time could be used for pet care. Sick time required a doctor note after a few days. Things could still be rough on parents of young children.
          I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
          Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

          From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia


          • #6
            I don't have a pet myself, but I do work and know that if a pet is ill, then that should result in an employee being able to take a sick day. A sick animal is, obviously, very serious and isn't an excuse or a lie. Things crop up in life and the employer has to understand that. I am glad animal rights groups are taking action. As we've established, it is a very important issue.


            • #7
              Thanks for the feedback everyone.
              "Be what you're looking for."


              • #8
                So.......to take this a bit further, how do you all feel about children in the workplace?

                This has come up recently in my workplace several times. We are very family friendly, flexible with working parents who may need alternative schedules, more time out of the office than our non-parents, we have a "bring your son/daughter to work day" once per year, etc. I have one worker who periodically shows up with her child (4 years old). Usually for short periods of time, sometimes an hour or so. He goes from office to office, runs through the office yelling, etc. She never asks if it is okay to bring him. Sometimes, she will call in sick bc he is home sick from daycare, but then she will show up with him to work for a couple hours.

                I have another worker who showed up one day with his sick child (6 years old) He said he could not send her to daycare and doesn't have any sick time yet to take. He was in a bind. BUT, he did not contact me or the other director to ask first. Throughout the day when he needed to run work related errands, he'd ask me or someone else in the office to watch her. I spoke with him about it the next day. I explained that he should always talk to one of us first and that there may be people in the office with weakened immune systems. I firmly believe if the child is too ill for daycare, they are too ill to knowingly expose me and the rest of the staff. He took it well, said he totally understood, but in "chatting" with some others about this they decided that I just don't understand because I "don't have children.". I have other employees with children who do NOT take liberties to bring their children to work whenever they feel like it.

                I have never worked anywhere this happened before. What about you all?
                Last edited by Beautiful Disaster; 12-04-2017, 03:02 PM.
                "Be what you're looking for."


                • #9
                  I do feel like this is an area I can't fully understand, since I'm not a parent. Then, I also think that that fact doesn't preclude me from having a valid opinion on the subject. I think those in the position may share my opinion, and others not.

                  And I sort of agree with what I think your stance is here. Prior approval, and no sick people (staff or others) should be brought in. And if it's a disruptive child, absolutely not. There has to be boundaries. It is a workplace, after all. Depending on the type of work, there are probably times it should be a firm no, due to work load or client flow, etc.

                  I'm not opposed to having kids come in tho'. I think it does a lot to build the relationships between staff.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Beautiful Disaster View Post
                    I firmly believe if the child is too ill for daycare,
                    ............they shouldn't be at work but somewhere resting!
                    (because they have something contagious and/or fever of 100 degrees or more)
                    parents need a plan ahead of time for when their child gets ill, there's a snow day, etc

                    the last thing you want is a kid throwing up at work or spreading the flu around
                    and kid's colds are the worst! I've caught a few of our kid's colds, they're like super bugs


                    • #11
                      Children in the workplace should be limited to special days that allow for them such as a Christmas party or take your children to work day. It is hard to enforce an uneven policy, so exceptions should be limited. Business wants a lot of workers but doesn't want the problems created by having children.
                      I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
                      Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

                      From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia


                      • #12
                        We're on the same page then. Workplace rules are tough because if you allow a little leniency, it so often gets stretched far beyond your intention. atskitty2 - you mentioned if the kid is badly behaved then absolutely not. I totally agree. But try telling a parent that their kid is badly behaved. The person I mentioned who brings her 4 year old and allows him to run screaming through the office, thinks that is normal behavior for a 4 year old and it is more effort for her to restrict it then for her to allow it. I'm baffled by the behavior, because he has been taught by her that he does not have to show respect of her workplace.

                        I feel that we are so understanding of people with kids. Like I said, there is already significant flexibility there for them. If they need to do ANYTHING related to their kid from the time the kid is born until they're even in their 20's, it's pretty much considered a valid excuse. Same thing with grandkids. I'm all for that. When we have special events, we always tell everyone they are welcome to bring their families. I actually enjoy when people bring their kids in for a visit and bring them around to see everyone. But that's for a VISIT. Not for hours. Not for the entire work day.

                        I just can't understand why some people understand boundaries and others don't. The two people in my office who have done this, work side by side every day with other people who are parents and who have NEVER brought their kids in sick or expected to be able to keep their kid in their office all day. I'd be asking myself, "If this is okay....why aren't the others doing it?....why when I'm out on campus in other areas don't I ever see anyone with toddlers and kids running around their offices?" But...... one thing I've learned over the past few years is that some people just DON'T think. Management is tough.
                        "Be what you're looking for."


                        • #13
                          You're right, there isn't always thought for those around us. Those are probably parents that were brought up with no boundaries training or little discipline so they carry that on with their own kids.

                          If the disruptive kid is there more than occasionally, I think I'd have to say something, especially if it seemed to deter other staff as well. It wouldn't be a pleasant conversation but a necessary one. If the managers decided not to single her out, then the rule would have to apply to all. The work and maintaining some organisation in the workplace is the goal.