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Old 15.11.2011, 23:34
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Re: Why don't people stay home when they are sick?

Its a horrible situation when someone has to work sick. As a former restaurant manager, I can recall numerous times when I had to work sick (I was the only manager scheduled that shift, so there would be no coverage if I didn't show), and I can recall times when I worked open (as early as 7AM) to close (as late as 2AM the following day) to cover for someone else who was sick.

Unfortunate as it may seem, some employees fall ill with 'I-don't-want-to-work-today-itis' (especially after they've caught the 'fantastic-tip-night' [at least in the US] germ or the 'drank-too-hard-flu' from the night before ) and those 'sour apples' ruin the 'tree' for everyone else. Equally unfortunate, sometimes this person is the only person able to cover that position for that shift, or they were involved in some function or project that made them indispensable that day and there really was no way to cover them if they weren't there. In my former industry, the guests (most of them) didn't care if you were short-staffed; their expectations didn't change a whit- they just wanted to be served and fed.

Every case had to be dealt with individually, but the broad rule was- 'If you're that sick, you need to see a doctor, and return to work with a doctor's note documenting you were ill and that you are now medically cleared to work again.' Sometimes it was tough, because nobody wants to pay (and often many of my employees couldn't afford) to see a doctor to be told you have the 24-hour bug, take two aspirin and get lots of rest, but this was how we sorted the legitimate cases from the less-serious cases.

Their alternative was to phone their coworkers and get someone to volunteer to cover the shift; if the shift was covered, then they were free and clear. Even this had its drawbacks, because sometimes people were too unwell to even make phone calls.

Sometimes employees showed up anyways, and, as the manager, I would have to make the decision to send them home because they were sick (sick employees in foodservice is one of the most serious risk factors for foodborne illness). Usually this would mean I would have to fill the vacant role in addition to having my own responsibilities.

And, yes it was hard when a sick employee came in anyways because they needed the money, and I knew they needed the money, but I had to do the right thing for the business (and them, truthfully) and send them home.
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germs, sick

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