Are your employees abusing the new sick leave law?


After the paid sick Leave law went into effect on July 1 (AB1522, Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014). I have been receiving calls from small business owners claiming that some employees are abusing this law, calling in sick very often, and they do not know what to do.  The fact that workers are entitled to this paid sick leave it does not give them the right to abuse it. Small business owner, you have the right to manage your workforce. What you can do?

Employee manual: Make sure you spell out in the employee manual when and how the employees should request their time off. Do you have a form that the employee should fill out? In a case the employee gets sick at the last minute, how much advance notice do your company needs? You need to let them know the consequences of not following you company policy.

Patterns: Does your employee have an absenteeism pattern? Do they call sick on payday? Friday? A day before their day off? Look for those patterns, check the employee’s attendance for the last three months. You may be surprised! If they are abusing their sick leave, address it right away and nip it in the bud!

Some employees ask for days off in advance and, sometimes, you need to deny the request because you do not have enough personnel. Despite your denial, some employees may still decide to leave you short staffed! Have you experienced this? Make sure you talk to them, explain the consequences of their absence and if needed write him/her up!

Just because of the sick leave law went into effect on July 1, it does not mean your hands are tied. You can still address your employees’ absenteeism through different venues and make them aware of the impact they have when they call in sick without being sick. You have ways to communicate to your employees that this behavior it not acceptable, employee manual, workplace dialogue and, if needed, discipline. It is not easy to be the bad guy but someone has to do it!



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