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Creating a Sick Time Policy

Date: 01/25/2006 | Category: Business | Author: Diana Heeb Bivona

Before you hire your first employee, it may prove beneficial to you to have your employee policies in place. There are several good reasons for formulating your employee policies early. First, you can make your employees aware of the policies and procedures prior to signing on board, thus leaving little room for surprises. Secondly, written policies provide you, as the employer, additional protection should there a question in the future. Finally, and most importantly, employees need to know what is expected of them.

One specific policy to address is sick time. While you are not required under federal or state law to pay employees when they miss work due to illness, you will find that more and more employers are doing so in order to remain competitive.

You need to:

  • Become familiar with the federal and/or state laws that will affect your sick time policy. Be sure to pay particular attention to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). The FMLA requires employers to grant unpaid sick leave under certain conditions. For more information go to www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/.
  • Decide how much sick time you want to give. In order to calculate this aspect, you need to consider the demands of your business and the role of your employees. For example, if an employee is ill, will you need to pay someone else overtime to cover their shift? Will you need to hire a temporary worker?
  • Decide how you will enforce your sick leave policy. This is probably one of the hardest things you will need to figure out. However, it may become an issue particularly in cases where you have an employee who calls in sick frequently.

If you believe an employee is abusing your sick policy, you do have the right under the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act to require an employee to get a doctor’s note that states they have been under medical care. Fore more information, visit www.eeoc.gov/.

If you need help in drafting your policies, consider consulting a human resources provider. If you’re on a tight budget, contact Score. Score is an organization of retired executives who advise small business owners. They also have human resources experts who can help.

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