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Sick leave, desist from abusing it

Sick leave is time off work during periods of temporary illness. In Kenya, sick leave must be certified by a medical practitioner, entitling you to maintain pay as you recuperate.

But there are many stipulations in the law about paid sick leave, which may be in your best interests to be aware of.There are many reasons why you may feel compelled to request your doctor to certify days off from work due to some illness. Some situations are clear-cut.

Serious illnesses requiring hospitalization, or limiting your physical or mental capacity will obviously interfere with the ability to work. And if you are suffering from a contagious disease, you are better off work as this will minimize the potential to infect your work colleagues.

But it goes without saying that you can get unscrupulous and find ways of abusing sick leave stipulations. Some entities allow employees to self-certify sick off days limited to a week, beyond which they must produce a formal medical certificate.

You can easily get tempted to call in sick just to have some extra time off idling about, after all somebody else will pick up your tab. Or you could try to coerce your doctor to certify some time off for you to cover your misdemeanors.Minor ailments hardly require time off work, don’t embarrass yourself by requesting for a hardly justifiable sick off.

There are many benefits for genuinely required sick-offs. You will be at less risk of occupational injuries if you take time off to recover from a transient debilitating illness. Your subsequent productivity following recovery will likely be optimal. And if what you are ailing from is contagious, you are better off keeping it to yourself at home rather than passing it on to your colleagues at work. Trying to front a macho image and working when unwell will not do you any good. What you do is not earth-shaking, stuff will still move on in your absence.

Unwarranted sick leave has major impacts on both the public and private sectors. It costs companies billions of dollars, and is a burden to governments and tax payers. Sick days delay work, causing projects to fall behind schedule. They create stress for other workers, who must make up for lost productivity. And, because other people may need to work overtime to make up for the time lost, sick days add to overtime bills. Sick leave policies are in existence to treat the unwell fairly, and discourage abuse by the undeserving.

The next time you feel the need to take a not-so-legitimate sick leave, beware of the knock-on effects. And if coercing your healthcare provider to certify you unfit for work, you may be committing medical fraud. Desist from faking sickness just to gain some extra days off. Get sick leave only when you are genuinely unwell.

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