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Controlling the summer sick day syndrome

With the advent of summer often comes a spike in unscheduled sick days, particularly on beautiful Fridays and Mondays. According to an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive in April 2007, workers most often take a sick day when they are not ill because:
• Needed a mental health day (73%)
• The weather was great (50%)
• Workload is heavy so take a day off when possible (16%)
With today’s dynamic and multi-generational workforce, more and more companies are looking at more flexible benefits as a way to curb the disruption caused by unscheduled sick days. Employer strategies that workers said would prevent them from misusing sick days during the summer include:
• Time off on Fridays – full or half day – as a result of a compressed workweek

• More flexibility through flex-time, telecommuting and compressed workweeks

• Paid Time Off (PTO) programs that give employees a bank of time to use at their discretion for vacations, sick time, medical appointments, etc. PTO programs give the employee the responsibility to manage their time off and provide advance notice and obtain approval for PTO, holding time in reserve for unexpected emergencies and illnesses. (For a sample of a PTO policy, contact us)
Many companies still maintain human resources policies that are so specific they are not relevant to today’s workforce and are bureaucratic barriers to effective management. As workers become more mobile and diverse with differing interests and backgrounds, the “one size fits all approach” does not serve the purpose it once did. A more flexible approach to benefits can increase a company’s ability to attract talent as well as improve their productivity.