Taking a sick day is not that easy for some workers.
Leonard, a reader from Baltimore, argues that sick workers whose employers offer a "paid time off" or PTO bank - where vacation, sick and personal days are lumped together - show up for their job because this increasingly popular system encourages the practice called presenteeism.
Leonard was responding to my recent column about the need for workers who are ill to stay home in order to get better but also to prevent passing along their sickness to colleagues.
Under a PTO bank, to stay home means losing a day or more of vacation, Leonard argues.
"My fellow employees and I must constantly choose between staying home when we're sick, which is in everyone's best interest, and coming in to work when we're sick so we don't cheat ourselves out of vacation days," he writes.
I was curious as to why more employers were shifting to paid time-off banks. So I asked George Faulkner, a principal at Mercer Human Resource Consulting's health and benefits practice, to explain the advantages of a PTO bank.
My employer and others offer more traditional, separate allotments for vacation, sick and personal days.
Faulkner acknowledges that the paid time-off bank has been a mixed bag for workers.
But some employers like it because it controls the number of days their workers have and it's easier to track, he says.
"If you put the days in one pool and you give employees 20 days, that's all they have," Faulkner explains.
If you're sick for a long period, though, most employers offer a temporary disabilities plan.
Another advantage is it helps eliminate any suspicion on the part of the employer when a worker takes a day off. And workers don't need to justify or give a reason for taking time off, Faulkner says.
"This way, there are no questions asked - a no-fault policy," Faulkner says.
Workplace tidbit: Women are more likely to work during pregnancy now than ever before.
That's not anything new per se, but here are some concrete trends the U.S. Census Bureau released recently:
Two-thirds of women who had their first child between 2001 and 2003 worked during pregnancy compared with 44 percent of women who gave birth for the first time between 1961 and 1965.
Eighty percent of women who worked while pregnant from 2001 to 2003 worked one month or less before their child's birth, compared with 35 percent who did so in 1961-1965.
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