5 Reasons to Give Employees Unlimited Sick Days

Let Common Sense Dictate Your Sick Leave Policy

How Does Your Sick Leave Policy Work?

Depending on the philosophy your company takes, the issue of sick leave can be pretty contentious.

Do you keep your sick leave separate from other time off? Do you hire someone specifically to track it? Or do you lump sick leave, vacation days, and other things into one big bucket labeled as “paid time off?” Do you allow workers to bank sick time and get paid for it, or is it “use it or lose it?” And that’s not even considering short- and long-term disability for workers with chronic illness.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? But the good news is there’s a solution which more and more companies are embracing – giving workers unlimited sick days.

Yup, that’s right. Some companies across the nation and the world are embracing a “less is more” approach, and trusting employees to take the time they need while still getting work done. And while there’s always room for abuse of the system, companies like IBM have stopped looking over employees’ shoulders because it actually works to the business’ advantage. Here are some reasons why.

5. Your Office Stays Healthier

This is one pretty self-explanatory.

If workers are all out of sick days they’ll feel they have to come in to work or else risk not getting paid or, even worse, losing their job. So one sick person comes into the office with close quarters, and then the bug starts spreading. Pretty soon instead of having one employee out for a few days, now you’ve got a bubonic plague spreading through your ranks with dozens of people out of work for various amounts of time.

Just let workers rest and get healthy without having to worry about coming in, or allow them to work from home so they can at least get a little bit done while they’re feeling sick. It beats an office full of sick.

4. Increases Productivity

How does being out sick lead to more work being done? Easy.

If employees have used up all their sick days then they come to work sick. Sick people are often distracted and not working to their maximum potential. Also, as referenced earlier, they cause other in-office employees to be sick which further decreases the work being done.

But workers who aren’t worried about sick days will take the time they need to recover and then come back to work healthy and productive. They also won’t infect coworkers and cause them to be out as well, thereby keeping the workforce healthy and productivity at a good clip.

3. Saves Time & Money

If you want to have a system that tracks paid time off and sick leave, you have to pay at least one or more employees to track everything.

Many companies that track sick leave have to either have employees and their managers keep track of days themselves, or hire a human resources employee to track it all. That usually means purchasing some sort of tracking software as well, all to determine if Jim from accounting actually has that one last day to take off because of the flu.

That stands in stark contrast to companies like IBM, who leave it up to employees and their direct supervisors to work sick time out amongst themselves. As long as no one is abusing the privilege and deadlines are still being met, the company is fine with not breathing down its workers’ necks regarding sick time. And it saves on personnel and software costs normally spent on tracking.

2. Improves Employee Retention

Simply put, if employees feel respected they’re more likely to stay.

No one likes to work for a micromanager and no one wants to choose between their health and a paycheck. If you have employees – especially top-performers – you value and want to keep, then keeping them happy becomes a huge priority. And even though employees usually list salary as their biggest concern, things like work/life balance are high up on the list too.

Keeping high-performing employees will maintain your company’s productivity and reduce turnover costs by avoiding frustrating employees jumping ships.

1. Improves Morale

Happy employees do better work.

If you make employees feel respected and treat them like adults instead of schoolchildren beholden to an attendance policy, you’ll end up creating a work environment that makes employees feel valued. That, in turn, leads to better employee retention, a boost in morale, and even good word of mouth amongst jobseekers when it’s time to hire more employees.

Creating a place where people actually like coming to work is a huge benefit.

Addressing sick leave policies and other benefits is a great way to improve employee retention and hiring.


Business, Company, HR