Blog Master G

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Sick Days

Thursday, April 15th, 2004 · 7 Comments

I’ve been fighting a cold — fortunately, successfully — this week. I refuse to get sick. I normally only get sick once per year (in late November), so I refuse to let it get to me this time around. Jen had it pretty bad earlier in the week, but I’m fending it off and feeling much better already.

Regardless, now I must rant about Corporate America.

One thing Autodesk had right was its employee benefits. That company really treats its people well — from employee stock purchase plan to full healthcare benefits to the annual “week of rest,” Autodesk gets it. One significant benefit that distinguishes Autodesk from most of Corporate America is its handling of sick days. As an Autodesk employee, if you’re sick, you stay home. Period. You don’t have a limit on the number of sick days you can take. Nor should you ever.

That most other companies don’t give you all the sick time you need is the most fucked up, backward concept to me — for a company to think it can actually put a limit on the number of days that you’re allowed to be sick in a year is absurd. And what happens if you’re sick more than 4 or 5 or however many days you’re allocated throughout the year? Typically, the company will eat into your vacation days or make you take the days unpaid. Screw that.

Sure, I understand that companies put these regulations in place so that people won’t take advantage of the system. Here’s a suggestion, Corporate America: Hire honest people. But wait, that would require hiring honest executives from the top down, and we all know that normally doesn’t happen.

So alas, who must suffer? The proletariat masses. They who represent the majority of the workforce and also pay the majority of taxes. (How apropos for Tax Day, no?)

Hear ye! Hear ye! Don’t get sick. And if you do, be sure to go back to work to get your coworkers sick so they, too, have to eat into their Sick Day Savings Account that pays no interest and puts money in the wallets of the Fat Cats who make these rules in the first place.

But the Fat Cats have their own executive wash rooms anyway, right? So they don’t have to worry about catching your cold.

(Disclaimer: This post is directed at Corporate America in general — especially big companies — and certainly not toward my current employer.)

Tags: rants

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 anonymous // Apr 15, 2004 at 2:14 pm

    Gabe obviously doesn’t run a business and isn’t rich. And with awesome benefits come layoffs by the dying Autodesk. My favorite benefit is the pet day care, which I never experienced. (Gabe does own a pretty fast car).

    Al Hart just told me that my cubicle has 400 times more bacteria than the toilet. So to reduce sick days, employees should never eat at the desk. Yada yada… Here is the link.

  • 2 Jordan // Apr 15, 2004 at 6:24 pm

    My old place had the “if you’re sick, PLEASE STAY HOME!” policy where sick days aren’t counted. Ironically I think it made sick people in more often because they were basically nice honest hardworkers who felt they were taking advantage of the company if they stayed home when they could work.
    My new place allocates half-a-day a month. I have mixed opinions on it. Still, I’m generally not going to be sick that much in a year, so it’s like extra vacation or something unscrupulous like that.

  • 3 gabe // Apr 15, 2004 at 7:00 pm

    hey anonymous- what do you know about my financial state or whether i run or have run a business?

    regardless of my net worth or business experience, i know what’s right. whether it’s a small consulting company (which i do run, by the way) or a fortune 500, i believe in treating people right. making employees comfortable in the workplace only leads to happier, healthier, more productive people.

    and, as jordan aptly points out, if you do have the luxury of unlimited sick time, you’re likely not going to abuse it.

    as for autodesk, sure, they laid me off, but you have to give them credit for having thrived for 20+ years – i think, largely, because they treat their people right and they have lots of committed workers. and a stock price of 33 and climbing doesn’t really suggest “dying” to me.

    and who’s this al hart?

  • 4 anonymous // Apr 16, 2004 at 11:37 am

    Consider these three things:

    1) Kids get sick a lot. Quite often they make their parents sick. And when you are older, you are going to get sick more. At some point it’s not going to make any economics sense for the employer.

    2) You can set up short-term and long-term disability insurance policies to cover both the company and the employees. Unlimited sick days is basically a self-insured policy. If you are not in the insurance business, it’s hard to justify self-insurance. Maybe Autodesk has overlapping sick day and disability policies. But that’s not any better than having either one by itself.

    3) So you hire one honest American. For each one of those, I can find ten honest Indians, Chinese and Russians who’d work for less money and fewer benefits. I am not saying that a company should or shouldn’t outsource. I am just saying that it can be an attractive option. But what would you give up to keep the jobs in this country?

  • 5 anonymous // Apr 16, 2004 at 11:41 am

    Al Hart is a retired KCBS anchor, who’s been on the air for over 40 years. His wife died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. He’s good friends with John Madden the football announcer.

  • 6 ben // Apr 20, 2004 at 2:37 am

    Gabe, how the hell can you complain about this job already?! You don’t even have to go into the office!!!

  • 7 gabe // Apr 20, 2004 at 8:03 am

    ben, ben, ben… someone didn’t read my disclaimer! my new job rocks. this post was not at all directed toward MY job.