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Abuse of sick leave in public safety

Listen as Gordon Graham tackles an often-ignored problem in public safety – the proper use of sick days

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol.

Today’s Tip is for all my friends in public safety. Guess what? Everyone gets sick! The question is, are you really sick or do you feel like not working today?

Here’s another question to ask yourself: Do you go to work when you’re sick to save your sick days for something fun? Maybe there’s even a retirement incentive for unused sick leave.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s an abuse of your sick leave benefit. It’s also very unfair to your co-workers. It’s a fact that sick leave is intended only for qualified absences. It’s not to be used as supplemental time off or vacation.

Over the years, I’ve heard it all! Right down to, “I’m having a vision problem and just don’t see myself at work today.” Or “It’s my benefit, I can take it whenever I want to. They owe me. Besides, they’ll never know.”

Interestingly, supervisors and coworkers do know. The timing of these so-called illnesses typically corresponds with projects, deadlines and other time off. Excuses are often inconsistent. This is not only frustrating to a supervisor, but to co-workers who must cover for the absence without any notice.

Another problem is going to work when you’re sick. Doing so will likely spread illness to others. And in these unprecedented times, that is just plain wrong! Do your co-workers a huge favor and stay home if you’re not feeling well.

Want a little friendly advice? If you’re one who abuses sick leave, stop it now! Be considerate of those you work with. If you know someone who is abusing their sick time, have a conversation with them or talk to your supervisor.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, this is Gordon Graham, signing off.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.
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