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Sick leave abuse is a form of stealing

This week my pet peeve is people's attitudes towards, and abuse of, sick leave. I am sick and tired of people being out sick, taking too many sick days, thinking it is no big deal if they take several sick days, thinking they're entitled to their eight sick days per year, etc. And it is not just the younger generation, and it is not only Bermudians who are guilty of this behaviour! Don't get me wrong, I have no issue with certified sick leave and people being off sick when they or their kids are really ill; it's the abusers with whom I have an issue. More on this after we look at the top 20.

Overtaking others to move into the top spot it's

Motivation by Kelly Rowland featuring L'il Wayne. Tumbling to #2 is

Run the World (Girls) by Beyonce. Tumbling to #3 is

Give Me Everything by Pitbull, Neo, AfroJack & Nayer. Soaring to #4 is one of the hottest anthems on the planet,

Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock. This track is out of this world. It combines a monster bassline with catchy lyrics and clever keyboards that remind me of the techno music I used to play when I spun records at the Oasis Club back in the 80s and 90s. Falling to #5 is Enrique Iglesias' current hit

Tonight I'm Loving You, another banging dance anthem. This one gets loads of airplay on the nightclub circuit and is one of those tracks that get people dancing. There is a clean version as well as a naughty remix.

Way up to #6 is

Last Friday (TGIF) by Katy Perry, a catchy sing-along track that is doing well in charts worldwide. Improving to #7 is

Rolling In the Deep by Adele. I definitely prefer the dance mix, which rocks and is far easier to mix/blend with other dance tracks.

Up to #8 is

I'm Into You by Jennifer Lopez featuring L'il Wayne. Jenny from the block is clearly moving on from her troubled marriage people give up too easily nowadays. Slipping to #9 is

Just Can't Get Enough by the Black Eyed Peas. Tumbling to #10 is

Judas by Lady Gaga. Gaga rocks; she's cute, hot, talented and she creates a firestorm of publicity wherever she goes.

In the #11 spot this week is

Beautiful People by Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi. This is a banging dance tune that flew under the radar of those not really into the nightclub or dance music scene. Tumbling to #12 is

6 Foot 7 Foot by L'il Wayne featuring Cory Gunz.

Improving to #13 is the hyped, Latin/soca anthem entitled

Danza Kuduro, by Don Omar, the Cuban/American star Pit Bull, Lucenzo, DJ Laz and Qwote.

Walking by Mary Mary falls to #14. Falling to #15 is

Born This Way by Lady Gaga. Up to #16 is the new one from Chris Brown entitled

She Ain't You. This is a sweet R&B hit, rare these days and most welcome. Slipping to #17 is Rihanna's current hit,


Up to #18 is last week's essential new tune

I Wanna Go, the latest single by comeback artist of the moment, Britney Spears. Down to #19 is her other hit,

Till The World Ends.Tumbling to #20 is

Look At Me Now by Chris Brown featuring L'il Wayne and Busta Rhymes.

Now back to this week's topic abuse of sick leave. But before we go there, big props again to the Minister of Transport and the Department of Public Transportation on standing firm against the union! It is fitting that this matter goes to arbitration, but let's hope that the arbitrator doesn't go wonky and give some outrageous award that is outside the terms of reference, as has happened before. As with all things, we will see.

We have a problem with sick leave. People think they are entitled to eight sick days per year (or whatever number is in their collective bargaining agreement) and even if they are not sick they are going to take them. This is selfish, flawed thinking.

Sick days are for when people are genuinely ill and cannot come to work, or when your kids are really sick and you have nobody else to look after them or really just want to be with your sick child/children yourself!

Sick days are not some bank of days that you can call upon and use when you just don't feel like it or when you need a 'mental health day' or when your boss or colleagues have gotten on your nerves. If you are well enough to walk, ride or drive yourself to the doctor to get a sick note, then you probably are well enough to tough it out and come to work. I will admit that if a person is likely to give everyone else in the workplace their germs then they should stay home, but employers and colleagues will have greater respect for a person who is sick but tries to come to work and then is sent home by their boss, who can see that they are genuinely ill.

The other phenomenon is when people are on vacation or over a long weekend such as Cup Match, and they call in sick the day they were to return to work! These people couldn't work with or for me. I would fire them or, as a minimum, discipline them to the fullest extent allowed.

I was talking to a young guy the other day and he said and I quote “Sometimes I use my sick days if I have a move on or my girl is coming over my house and I want to spend a day with her!” Can you believe this nonsense? Employees wouldn't do stuff like this if they had been or are now a business owner. Nor would they accept it from their staff if they were the business owner. When your money is on the line you don't want staff wasting it. Staff don't realise that sometimes the business owner doesn't take a salary in order to pay the staff, who in some cases are abusing policies like sick leave. This is not fair.

This is why certain people will never build wealth, own businesses, achieve maximum upward mobility, etc. A business cannot and should not promote a person who exhibits such work ethic because this individual will model the same negative, poor work habits to staff, which ensures that a culture of poor attendance is developed. If you are not reliable and don't have a good attendance record, you cannot be successful. If you don't have good work ethic as an employee it is unlikely that you will have it as a business owner. Further, it is unlikely that you will even have the inclination to be a business owner!

A business cannot effectively service its clients if staff are constantly off sick. The effect is that they either have to pay an additional person to do your job whilst they are paying you to be off sick which reduces profits, or they stress out your colleagues by giving them extra work (your work) to do in addition to their own. That reduces morale, which in turn reduces customer service, which reduces profits.

I'm no genius, this is basic stuff! Common sense! Why do people not get this? What I am saying is that when staff abuse sick leave, it reduces profits. Then the same staff will wonder why the company will not spend more money on benefits, staff Christmas parties, summer fun days, etc. When you wonder why companies have no money for things you like, ask yourself what have you done to help reduce the profitability or increase the costs of the organisation!

Nobody who ever invested in a business did it to lose money. If people didn't want to make profit they would just work for someone else because owning a business is stressful you don't do it to lose money.

Why go into further debt and lose more money to keep a business open when too many of your employees abuse the privileges and/or have a poor work ethic?

Staff should be appreciative of having a job and should do whatever they can to protect their job and the company for which they work. If the company doesn't make a profit eventually, and especially nowadays during this recession, that company will shut down and all the staff will lose their jobs. We should have this kind of work ethic in good times, not just during recessions, but an economic downturn is the last time to be thinking in this dishonest and unproductive manner.

I view abusing sick leave as a I view sick leave as a form of stealing, because a person who is not really sick but who calls in sick often is stealing time from the company and costing the company money. And now here is the most shocking statement. Get ready for this.

It is not only Bermudians who are guilty of abusing sick leave, contrary to popular belief! I've worked alongside guest workers who also abuse the sick leave policy.

So let's not go around dissing Bermudians. Many workers from other jurisdictions have a problem with this as well.

Also, it is not just young people (meaning people under 40) who abuse sick leave. I've seen people over 40 with this attitude and who say stupid stuff like, “It is November and I haven't used up all my sick days. I think I need to be off sick a few days between now and Christmas or I may lose them!” Staggering? Yes, to those of us who are 'right-thinking people', but many persons think this way.

Whatever the reasons are, this is not sustainable and cannot continue. It must be stopped asap.

The unions are saying that Government, employers and unions must come together to find ways to stimulate the economy. Agreed. No issues with that. Such meetings and strategic planning must happen and long may they continue. Hopefully we can collectively stimulate the economy.

But the unions have to change their paradigm and stop defending members who are abusing sick leave and other benefits because all this serves to do is cripple organisations, decrease customer service, reduce profitability, stress out the hard-working and honest employees in organisations and doom companies to lose money, fail or shut down. Peace ... DJLT!

In this Feb. 10, 2011 photo, recording artist Adele poses for a portrait in New York. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

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Published August 26, 2011 at 11:00 am (Updated August 26, 2011 at 11:40 am)

Sick leave abuse is a form of stealing

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