Employers Must Be Aware of “Presenteeism”

/cdklawyers.com/Keith Clouse – Dallas Employment Lawyer/ 09/21/2009
Not only does autumn bring with it colds and allergens, but this year it brings a resurgence of the swine flu, forcing more employees to miss work for health-related reasons. While all employers are aware of the costs associated with employee absenteeism, Keith Clouse, a Dallas employment law attorney, cautions employers to also be aware of “presenteeism”—the hidden costs and problems employers face when sick workers report for work.  Not only do ill employees spread germs to other workers, but they may be notably less productive while at work.

Sick employees frequently report to work because they worry that no one can cover their workload or because they do not want to “waste” vacation days or use up sick leave.  To address these concerns, an employer should evaluate its policies (including unwritten, but understood policies) to ensure that these policies do not inadvertently encourage employees to report to work while ill.  For example, an employer may wish to allow employees to carry over unused sick leave each year to enable employees to build a comfortable cushion or to allow sick employees to telecommute. Additionally, an employer should cross-train its employees so that no one employee is the only person who can complete certain tasks.

To discuss employment-related issues with an employment law attorney, please contact the employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at [email protected].

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