It used to be that shrugging off a cold or the flu and coming into work while others booked off with such maladies was considered a sign of dedication.

Now a pair of university studies has shown that people who infect others by bringing their maladies to work inflict a greater toll on productivity than those who stay at home to recuperate.

Soon the flu season  will be upon us.  The updated wisdom is that if you’ve got a case of the sniffles, don’t try to prove  yourself a trooper.  You’ll  be doing more harm than good.

But why restrict this to workers?

I run a discussion group twice a month.  I would sooner a person stays at home than come with a serious cold and so be coughing and spitting all over the place.

I  take two classes a week at McGill.  It really bugs me when somebody comes who is sneezing and spreading germs all over the rest of us.

Taking your disease out into the wide world is the heighth of selfishness.

Should sick workers (and others) stay at home?

What do you think?


  1. 1

    I agree with sick workers staying home, but they need permission/agreement.
    A company management needs to spell it out, and encourage workers to stay home.
    How often? At what cost to the employee?
    Unfortunately getting a note from a Dr. is not very practical.
    The vast majority of workers do not have unions and contracts.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    If someone calls in sick, are they docked their salary? Surely not.

  3. 3
    Barbara Says:

    You bet, Neil!

    I was part of a public sector union and you were permitted so many days a year to call in sick. The sick days did not accumulate, if unused, by the way. If you were out more than two days, I believe, you had to bring a doctor’s note. As littlepatti pointed out, that can be a pain when you just have a cold or the flu. I had a severe case of pneumonia years ago and had to stay home two weeks. I was lucky that my employer had short term disability insurance, but I was paid a lower salary for part of that period. Actually, my doctor wished I would have stayed out longer because I was still somewhat wasted, but there was pressure at work. My students resented my illness and the teacher who was paid extra to cover my classes did the bare minimum. I was also scheduled to chair an important faculty meeting and, even there, I had to beg to have a microphone because I could barely speak over a whisper by the end of the day.

    There is a reason teachers and nurses burn out. And we had it easier than the un-ionized.

  4. 4
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Thanks for the info from personal experience, Barbara.

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