Definition Of

Sick Leave

Sick leave provides pay to employees when they’re out of work due to illness. Most sick leave policies grant full pay for a specified number of sick days—usually up to about 12 per year. The sick days usually accumulate at the rate of, say, 1 day per month of service.

Sick leave causes trouble for employers. The problem is that while many employees use their sick days only when they are sick, others use it for personal leave, whether sick or not. In one survey, personal illnesses accounted for only about 45% of unscheduled sick leave absences. Family issues (27%), personal needs (13%), and a mentality of “entitlement” (9%) were other reasons cited. One survey found that the average cost of absenteeism per employee per year was $789, with personal illness accounting for about a third of the absences.

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