I need to get more sick.

So I was doing my typical obsessive compulsive pay stub review yesterday (my pay stub goes online on Thursday, but I don’t get paid until Friday) just to make sure no funny business was going on. As I was looking through my gross pay, net pay, and benefit deductions I decided to take a gander at my accumulated leave. I knew I had a lot of sick time saved, since working from home pretty much means I’d have to be on my deathbed to call in sick (which has happened a few times).

My pay stub told me I had 389 hours of sick time banked. Not knowing exactly what that translated to, I punched in a few numbers in to my handy-dandy calculator watch (yes, I really wear a calculator watch). Turns out, that is 48 sick days. That’s well over two months of work (since the average month has about 22 work days in it) that I could potentially take off.

Someone needs to come over to my house and give me chicken pox, gonorrhea, or leprosy.

It’s seriously so tempting to just want to call in sick every Wednesday for the next 48 Wednesdays. Could you imagine? Go to work for two days, have a day off, go to work for two days, have the weekend off? How AWESOME would that be?!

SUPER AWESOME is the answer I’m looking for. Unfortunately, I wont be doing this for a few reasons:

  • It’s immoral to lie.
  • I’d get fired.
  • I’d burn through my sick leave.
  • I’d probably get bored.
  • I don’t hate my job so there is no reason to fake sick.

It would be great taking “mental health” days every now and again to recharge the ol batteries, but I know one day Girl Ninja and I plan to produce quadruplets and therefore it’s probably wise to keep accumulating as much sick leave as possible. That way, when I go from Ninja to Dad Ninja, I can take a month or two off. Read some instruction manuals. And teach my newborns how to mow the lawn and do the dishes. That’s a good plan right?

In all seriousness, I have a bunch of sick time accumulated which I am thankful for, and I know I have to do the responsible thing and treat this time off like a nice size emergency fund. It’s tempting to abuse it, but the “good boy” inside me knows better 🙂

Are you living sick day to sick day (kinda like paycheck to paycheck)? How much time off – sick and vacation- do you have banked right now? How often are you ACTUALLY sick when you call in sick (be honest)? 

35 thoughts on “I need to get more sick.”

  1. Since things are a bit different for Germans, I don’t have any accumulated sick days. Let me explain: We don’t get a set number of sick days per year, if you are sick you can stay home. Of course, taking a lot of sick days will lead your boss to rethink your commitment to keep your job… So I never accumulate sick days that I don’t take!

    Concerning your question of “How often are you ACTUALLY sick when you call in sick (be honest)?”, I have to say that I have really strong work ethics. If I’m not afraid to infect someone or that my head might fall off on the way to work, I’m coming. For my boyfriend, a bit of headache is enough to take the day off…

  2. I work from home, for myself, so sickness never really comes into the equation as far as work is concerned. Here in the UK sick leave is viewed by some as a ‘right’ to be taken even when not sick, until the allowed number of days have been used up.

  3. I can honestly say that I have never taken a sick day since I started working at 16. But I also haven’t accumulated any days since I only get 3/year and they expire annually on July 1.

  4. I used to live “sick day to sick day” at my last job because I was incredibly unhappy. At my current job I get 10 days of vacation a year and 5 sick days (both are use them or lose them). I’ve only been here for 8 months and have used 6 hours of sick time for actually being very sick. I love my job now and have a lot of responsibility so I don’t see myself taking a “metal health day”. Not that I am against it 🙂

  5. Aside from vacation days (or which I get 20 by now, with 5 I can carry over to the next year – and always do), we get 5 sick/personal days that can be used only within the calendar year. So if I want a day off, I’ll call it sick/personal and I could be feeling healthy as a horse. Our distinction is that vacation days are planned; s/p are unexpected.

  6. I used to think we get a ton of sick days, but then one of my best work friends got really sick. As in brain tumor sick. Turns out our employer’s short term disability insurance only kicks in after 13 weeks straight off of work.

    So now it looks a little less awesome. I have about a month’s worth of sick days built up and an emergency fund that would get me over the remainder of that 13 week hump. But what a sobering reminder! You never know when you could *really* use them.

  7. I get 8 hours of sick time per year paid at minimum wage, not my hourly rate, that expire at the end of the fiscal year.

  8. I tend to take sick days as and when I need them (the UK is similar to the German system MindLess describes). I find I’m usually sick for a shorter period and of course am less infectious if I take a day off at the beginning of an illness instead of near the end, so I try to do it then unless there’s a major deadline coming up or similar. I know there’s something going on with pay around them but I can’t remember whether we get more or less or what (I always forget this with holidays too).

  9. Save those sick days… You may need them one day, if heaven forbid, you had to have a major surgery. I know it is tempting to use them here and there, but imagine having open heart surgery and being forced to take 6 months off. You’ll be glad you did. Of course, since you work for the Feds, you could always apply for the leave share program to get more, or if you are feeling generous you could donate some of your sick time to other employees who have already exhausted their time.

    Personally I don’t get any sick time, and knock on wood, I have been a pretty healthy person most of my life. So it would take a lot for me to really be sick. Though a mental health day would be nice every now and then!

  10. I get 12 sick days per year that do not expire. I had a boss to retire years ago with more than a year of sick time – that added on to his years of ‘time served’ and counted toward his retirement.

    I’ve had two major back surgeries and was very thankful that I had lots of time built up. I was off for over two months with the first one – but I scheduled it so that Thanksgiving (three days) and Christmas (ten days) holidays were in there and that saved a few sick days. I also was able to work from home some both times, so that helped a lot as well.

  11. Not sure how it works with your agency, but at my company, we can use sick time for m/paternity leave and bonding time.

    I have about 8 weeks of sick time, so I’ll be taking no less than 4 weeks off when our kid comes in June.

  12. We don’t get seperate sick time. All leave is personal time. Sick time is just an unscheduled absence. Some of mine are mental health related. Others are because I’m sick. I just try not to abuse the system.

  13. I WISH I could bank sick days! I’m freelancing now, so sick days are a thing of the past anyway, but before I never got to bank them. I’m always pretty honest with them. I’d say 95% of the sick days I’ve taken as long as I’ve been working have been legit, too-sick-to-get-out-of-bed days, though I did take the occasional mental health day, and I didn’t really see a problem with it. I mean, once a year or so, if you’re just not feeling up to going into work and want to relax for a day, I don’t see a big problem with it. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries once in a while!

  14. I’m a stay at home mom and a small business owner. So I’m kinda screwed if I get sick. Luckily, that doesn’t happen very often. I’d say once a year I have to take a day to spend in bed to recover from sickness.

  15. I don’t get sick days-I have 4 weeks vacation, and if I’m sick and want to get paid, I have to take a vacation day. I love my work and my clients, so I only call in when I’m too ill to get out of bed, which has only happened maybe 5 days total in the 5.5 years I’ve worked for my current employer. I don’t call in sick if I’m not sick, period.

  16. Does your job have caps on the amount of sick leave you can accumulate? We get what I find to be a ridiculous amount of sick leave, but if you don’t use it by the end of the year, they cut it in half and put it in your sick bank. Then that has a cap.

    I feel too guilty to call in sick when I’m not. We are allowed to use our leave for medical appointments & funerals, so I guess that is the only time I’ve called in when I wasn’t sick.

  17. I get 5 days of sick leave a year, accrued proportionally on a monthly basis.

    Turns out that having small kids in day care causes me to burn through them almost as fast as I earn them. One kid will be sick on Monday and Tuesday, the next one comes down with the same thing on Wednesday and Thursday. My wife and I try to balance, but nap time on those days ends up being our only productive time.

  18. Making me jealous again, Ninja? 🙂 We don’t get sick days. In fact, we get “points” if we do call in sick. After 12 points in one year your fired. If I call in sick less than 4 hours before my shift, they give me a bonus .5 point. There are several other ways of earning bonus points too. So there you go, I don’t get paid for calling in sick and if I call in sick too much I’m fired. I’m even in a union but even that does not help in regards to sick time.

  19. My vacation and sick leave are considered the same… but I don’t think i’ve ever called in sick when I wasn’t… but I do talk in advance about taking a random mental health day and my boss normally tells me sure, covers my shift, and I get the day off 🙂

  20. I’m a mom, so I don’t get sick days, but hubby’s are basically unlimited. His level of seniority gives him 50 sick weeks in any 2 year period. I don’t think he’s taken more than 20 sick days cumulatively over the last 14 years, but they have the policy in place to help people who end up diagnosed with a serious disease. I believe they’ve changed that policy since he’s been hired but he was grandfathered in under some awesome terms.

  21. I have 251 hours of sick leave, 97 hours of annual and 13.25 comp time. I am hardly ever sick (knock on wood) and when I do get sick, it is usually just a cold. I have never called out and I am not the type to call out sick just because (although many of my co-workers seem to call out once a week). I want to save my hours in case a true emergency comes up (hopefully I won’t have to deal with that).

  22. We don’t “technically” have a set # of sick days/year, but if you’re sick and/or take lots of unscheduled days off, you’ll be called on it. I rarely call in sick… last year, I had 1 sick day… my total for 8 years of service is about 10 sick days used. My boss knows if I’m calling in sick, it’s legit! I don’t fake sick days, nor do I call in sick for a “mental health” day… you wanna know why?? Because I’d get caught… I just know I would!

    I’m eligible for 4 weeks off per year… plus summer hour accumulation of 4.5 days + 1/2 day off for my birthday… I’ve got 5 weeks of earned vacay time!!

  23. I work for the state and you can only accumulate a certain amount of sick days (1.5 years’ worth) so you have to use them. With my supervisor’s permission, I will take the whole day as a sick day anytime I have a dentist, doctor’s, or eye appointment. Plus in the (rare) event I am actually sick.

  24. I have over 115 sick days and I do not plan on taking even one. I will add 10 days every year for 5 years which I will ultimately add to my retirement. Not a bad deal.

  25. I’ve never taken a sick day unless I was actually sick, although there has been a “questionable” time or two where I probably could have worked but really wasn’t in full health. In my current job, they’ll let me work from home so when I feel up to working, but don’t want to risk infecting anyone else, I’ll still work.

    I have to admit though, sometimes it’s tempting, but I don’t think I could let myself do it. I think at this point I have about 4 months of sick leave banked.

  26. That’s a whole lotta sick leave!

    By NZ law we get four weeks annual leave (holidays, plus of course paid public holidays throughout the year) which is pretty generous but only 5 days paid sick leave.

  27. Like some of the above commenters, I have “Paid Time Off” (PTO), which includes sick days, personal days, and vacation days all in one lump sum. We can carry over one week past January 1st from the previous year, but it must be used by August 31st of the next year or you lose it. Bereavement and jury duty are separately accounted for. It can sometimes be frustrating because you have to be careful not to use most/all of your vacation days and then get sick at the end of the year. My boss told me that when she got married, she took all her vacation for her honeymoon, then got the flu in October and had to work a lot of makeup hours because she had no PTO left. Because of that, I always try to leave a week that I plan to carry over in case I get the flu or something near the end of the year, and then I’m not stuck.

    I did break my wrist the day after Christmas my first year of work, but our company gives us between Christmas and New Year’s off as holiday (we don’t get a lot of the other little holidays as paid vacation), so I didn’t have to use any PTO then as I got surgery and recovered. We have short term disability if you are in really big trouble. But if you don’t have anything like that, I would save them in case you have a big medical health scare someday.

  28. I have 50 days for this year. I only take off when I am sick (usually once or twice a year) or have a vacation scheduled.

    I try to carry over 17 days a year for emergency.

  29. I don’t use sick days unless I am completely unable to get out of bed. I get 10 a year, which carry over if I don’t use them, and I think I have used 3 or 4 in the last 3 years. At the moment I have accumulated 28.

    …but unless I get some kind of serious illness they have no value. I can’t (or at least I am not supposed to) use them as leave, and I don’t get paid any extra for not using them.

    I also have 37 days annual leave, which brings my total potential time off to 65 days.

  30. Wow that’s a lot of sick days! I usually go to work regardless and I have probably only missed 2 or 3 days in my life due to sickness.

  31. I’m a freelancer, so no sick days. In fact, I wrote three extra days’ worth of posts for my new MSN Money gig in advance so that I could have surgery earlier this month.
    In my previous life I was a newspaper reporter and we got 10 sick days per year, which did accumulate. I rarely used them, which was a good thing: My daughter became critically ill and I used all sick and vacation days, plus a bunch of unpaid leave, to stay in the hospital with her.
    We were actually allowed to take “mental health days” at the newspaper, if we just needed some time away. I generally felt guilty about doing that — which, as noted above, paid off when there was a family medical crisis.
    Right now? I could use a few sick days. My energy level is still very low. Will you and Girl Ninja bring me some chicken soup??? I’m just down the street in North Seattle….

  32. When the kids were born….hubby took 6 weeks off using sick leave, and it barely made a debt.

    I think he has something like 900 hrs of sick leave right now. That is 112 days! That is 22.5 full work weeks…almost 6 months!!

  33. You are better off saving it for when you need it. Also, don’t forget, 50% of your accumulated sick time counds as service credit for retirement.

  34. I get 11 days of sick leave annually for my job in which I work 3 days weekly. They accumulate to a max of 180 days (6 mos) of sick time. But of course you would need to work for years while taking nearly no sick days to build up to anything that significant. Also, that is my employer’s short-term disability offer, so I tend not to take “mental health days” – but it helps a lot that I generally like my job.

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