Career Staffing & Recruiting
Plenty of workers fib to get an extra day or two off. So ditch sick days for a different policy that can actually boost engagement.
Face it: There are days when you just don’t want to go to work. According to a 2015 survey from the job website CareerBuilder, 38% of employees said they’ve called in sick even though they felt well, up from 28% in 2014. Of the employees who feigned being sick, 27% said they just didn’t feel like going, 26% needed to relax, and 21% wanted to catch up on sleep.
To combat this, companies may want to get rid of sick days and instead implement “duvet days,” paid time off that can be used for any personal reason, says Karen A. Young, author of Stop Knocking on My Door: Drama Free HR to Help Grow Your Business.
“It’s a matter of semantics, but calling them ‘sick days’ as opposed to ‘personal days’ tends to make employees fib,” she says. “Sometimes we all need a mental health day away from work,” explains Young. “From an employee relations standpoint, there is a stronger sense of freedom if I have time to use for personal reasons,” she says.
The change in name brings benefits that go beyond eliminating white lies.
DUVET DAYS CAN BOOST EMPLOYEE HAPPINESS
“The new name makes them feel more like vacation or recuperative time,” says Sherri Mitchell, the cofounder and president of the staffing franchise All About People. “Employees might be more likely to use more of their personal days than they would with just sick days.”
Paid time off can prevent burnout, reduce turnover, and foster happy and productive employees, according to studies. At companies that encourage taking time off, 36% of employees report low stress levels at work and 55% report being extremely happy at work, according to a study by Project: Time Off, a nonprofit coalition that promotes the value of time off.