What Constitutes a Sick Day?

2 minute read •

April 8, 2019


Sick leave can be an awkward topic to approach for both the employee or their manager. This can be for a few different reasons including, the taboo around mental health, the growing trends of “sickies” and a fear of looking weak. Then there’s the issue of not wanting to tell your boss you ate a bad curry and had the runs all night.

Interestingly different cultures geographically seem to have different approaches to sick leave. In Australia, there is a growing epidemic of people faking sick days with the media calling it a “sickie epidemic”, whereas in the USA one in 5 staff took zero sick days in 2017. This post looks a 4 ways to encourage the use of sick leave in a way that benefits both the company and employees.

Lead by example

This piece of advice can be applied to many different aspects of a business and is just as important when it comes to sick leave. If managerial staff are showing up to work with the flu, tired or coughing over everyone (gross) this will make it seem like what the employees should be doing too. Set the tone for self-care and looking after yourself through the company leaders because nobody wants the flu spreading through the air-conditioning.

Encourage mental health days

Mental health days are often passed off by managers, however, can be extremely important in high intensity, stressful work environments. By encouraging staff to take mental health days you are giving the opportunity to recuperate and take needed rest which they may otherwise be too worried to ask for, this will improve their productivity and overall standard of work.

Have an open dialogue

By setting a comfortable and open environment around calling in sick staff will feel less of a need to lie about what is wrong with them, won’t feel like their sickness is showing them as weak and will encourage a sense of pre-planning when it comes to doctors appointments or other medical related issues. Initiatives like a templated email or coming up with terms for taboo sick subjects for staff to use.

Set company-wide standard

Here at Hassl, we have a company-wide policy that if you are out of annual leave days and want to use a sick day instead then you are more than welcome. This fosters a trusting culture and allows our staff to use their sick days how they see fit. We haven’t had any complaints yet!


Rachel Linacre

Rachel is Hassl's head of operations. She loves getting shit done and dogs.

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