It’s going to happen to everyone at some point in time and it’s never really an easy occasion to deal with. Maybe there is a stomach bug going around the office? Maybe the kids brought something home from day care? At this point it’s arbitrary. It’s 4 pm on a Sunday and you can begin the feel the familiar ailments of the first inklings of illness. There’s a little scratch in your throat and you feel as if you’ve been doing yard work all day, even though you’ve just been watching Netflix. It feels minor now, but that 8 hours between when your head hits the pillow and when you brush your teeth the next morning, leaves a lot of room for the virus or stomach bugs to really get rocking. You go over the options in your head. The office for your primary only has limited hours on Sunday and they’re already closed. There is no way to make an appointment for today. You will have to drop in and see if they can squeeze you in tomorrow. Luckily, you haven’t missed any work since starting this job, but you sort of snoozed through the human resources presentation on policies for sick days or leaves of absences. To make matters more complicated, you are faced with the unfortunate fact that many in the work force use a false sick day on Monday to stretch out their weekend one more day. You certainly want to make sure that your boss does not rope you in with that malfeasant group.
Regardless of when you go to the doctor, you need a doctor’s note to legitimize your sickness. It does seem odd in the current era- in a world where technology is growing rapidly every day- that we still rely on such an antiquated method of confirming your absence, but alas it is the system that we are still working with. The reality is that in order to maintain a positive image from management a doctor’s note is absolutely required. The funny part about this is most of the time bosses really don’t care about the note, but they need to follow the procedure that HR has set. The whole act of getting sick, going the doctor, getting a note that legally contains very few details and emailing it to your boss seems likes a total farce once it is all said and done. When we break down the cascade of events we see that all parties involved don’t really care all that much.
Many times, a sick day from work is due to a minor flu, a mean cold or a nasty cough. Nobody wants to be around a sickly individual that is hacking up mucus every couple of minutes. Taking the day off is really a nice gesture for those around you that don’t want to be potentially infected. However, most sick days are short and don’t require any loss of revenue for the company. The majority of people are able to work from home in these sorts of situations. So, for the average short term sick leave, where there is no major or chronic illness, you really don’t get much of a day off. Your boss likely doesn’t care either. As long as the sick person can complete their daily tasks when they return or work from home, bosses, generally speaking, have nothing to fear. The only other person left in this equation is the doctor or health care provider. In a general practice office, a large chunk of visits are for either regularly scheduled checkups, or for an employment mended sick note. Doctors surely don’t mind seeing more patients, especially when they are easily treated and the insurance pays out, but they do experience burn out having to write the same prescription day after day. As we all know, the medical industry is growing more strained daily and this sort of burn out could be potentially dangerous for physicians and other health care providers if they get too comfortable seeing the same medical presentations.
At the end of the day, the doctor, while he or she is happy to treat minor ill patients, the repetition of seeing the same presentations day in and day out leads to burn out. In other words, they appreciate the business, but they don’t really care all that much either. The only people that really care are the employees sitting in the ergonomic swiveled chairs and typing memos in HR.
It would appear that getting a doctor’s note is a fruitless endeavor just to appease the pencil pushers upstairs, but is this really the case? Sure, the procedure seems silly, but it shows commitment and a willingness to follow guidelines that may seem outdated and ridiculous purely because the company wants you to. In other words, your ability to produce a doctor’s note shows you are not just honest, but a worthy employee.
So, next time you’re thinking about skipping out on getting the note, just remember what else you’re risking.