General Question

flo's avatar

Why would an employer require a doctor's note every time employees call in sick?

Asked by flo (11233points) 3 weeks ago

That is, people don’t need to see a doctor or a nurse for a cold etc., correct? Would you list the number of things you don’t need a doctor for? Tons of things I’m thinking.

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18 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Because previous employees have lied and cheated the employer by calling in sick when they were not really sick.

The employer has a business to run and he can’t easily adjust to the whims of people who don’t feel like coming to work one day. So the employer is raising the bar; if you’re sick enough to stay home then you’re sick enough to see a doctor.

This is a really stupid approach – in the end, if a sick employee comes to work, he ends up infecting other employees, who in turn get sick. Dumb…

KNOWITALL's avatar

Many employers require them after 2 days.

flo's avatar

Plenty of of things people don’t need a doctor for. So how do the employers who require it answer that point?

Zaku's avatar

Because the employer is being control-freakish, holding an idea that it needs assert an overlord relationship toward the employees, and fearfully presumes that its employees will be dishonestly feign illness to avoid working for them, and the employer has surrendered to a cynical and dysfunctional relationship with its employees.

And, it falied to do a cost/risk analysis of the impact of such a policy on company health, morale, loyalty, etc., and/or is so stuck on a fearful negative exploitative mindset that it chooses to have that power dynamic with its employees.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@flo Then they come to work sick and infect the rest of us. Its so gross.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Excellent answer @Zaku wish I could give you a thousand great answers for that.

JLeslie's avatar

Usually, it’s after 2 or 3 days, depending on the company.

Two main reasons. Making sure the illness was real, but also making sure the employee is ok to work from a liability perspective. Some employees will push themselves, because they need the money, and they might be too weak.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just guessing here.but it is possible the employer had serious problems with too many employees calling in sick. Were there way more calls on Fridays or Mondays? By making it a little more difficult they are trying to show it is important to come to work.
I worked at a big company that would require a doctor’s letter or similar proof if we were absent more than 5 days. However it was rarely asked for. ( In my case, never.) There was no limit on the number of sick days but most of us tried to use as few as possible. Of course we would call in if we were going to be absent for any reason – even one day. The admin would put a note on your desk so everyone knew you were out and other employees would not be expecting you to show up.

It does not take a good supervisor long to see who is serious about coming in to work and who is not. If they have have a couple of problem employees this is one way to slow it down or give reason for dismissal.
Anecdote: In the above mentioned big company we had a guy who was notorious for calling in sick. One time he called in and said he would be out for 2 weeks because he was having knee surgery. The visiting nurse went to his house and found him reroofing his house.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s needed for many situations, most companies don’t require one for just a few days but only when someone is going to be out longer than a week or so. When they get more rigid with this it’s generally because they have had issues with sick leave abuse:

1. They have a problem with a single or just a few employees and it’s easier for them to solve it by making it harder on everyone rather than single them out. I can’t tell you how much I have seen this.

2. It’s in the policy to be used as needed and the “as needed” part can take on many forms.

3. The company does not issue a set # of sick days or they allow employees to “bank” unused sick days. They need a way to keep 30 year employees from taking six months of sick leave before they retire or other situations that resemble this.

4. Certain days are stressful like during a deadline, clean up day or huge sales day and they need all hands on deck when most don’t want to be anywhere near work.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought I would give an example of concerns an employer might have.

We have no policy about this in my company. When we hired a new employee one time the heat really got to him. My employees work outside. He didn’t drink enough water, he didn’t take the heat seriously enough. He was in his early 50’s, not some kid. He called in sick the next day, and then again the day after. He came back another day with a doctor’s note, we hadn’t asked for it, but it had been so bad he had gone to the doctor. I’m sure the expense of going to the doctor is a serious consideration for him, he had been out of work before we hired him, and my employees don’t make much.

He came back and wasn’t feeling well by the end of the day. We were afraid it was too much for him. We didn’t want him to become very ill or die. We didn’t want it for him, or for our concerns about being sued.

The note was a way to reassure us he was cleared to go back to work by a doctor to help us feel more comfortable, but in this particular instance it didn’t work out.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is the employer’s less than subtle way of telling you that if you aren’t sick enough to require a physician, you’re expected at work.

LadyMarissa's avatar

People who are willing to lie about being sick just to stay out of work are also too lazy to go to the doctor when they;re NO’T really sick. So, they end up going into work because they cant get a doctor’s excuse & the employer has another warm body for the day!!!

Most places where I’ve worked didn’t require a doctor’s excuse until day 3.

seawulf575's avatar

In some companies, there are policies about when a doctor’s excuse would be needed. Those policies are put in place to deter abuse of the sick time policy. A previous employer I worked for had a policy in which the supervisor could ask for a doctor’s excuse on the 3rd sick occurrence. They weren’t required to and that was a judgment call by the supervisor. But it was told to all employees that it could be. So if you were sick enough on your third occurrence to stay home, you needed to get in to see your doctor for an excuse. The company I currently work for has almost the exact opposite view. I had an employee working for me that was way outside the curve for normal sick time. 18 sick days in 5 months. Amazingly all of them occurred either before or after a holiday, weekend, or vacation time. It was obvious abuse. But I checked with HR to fully understand the policy and was told I couldn’t say anything about them using sick time. They viewed sick time as a benefit and you can’t stop people from using their benefits.

flo's avatar

So how do those employers answer the point that if cold flu no need/shouldn’t to go to doctor? To quote @elbanditorosoin the end, if a sick employee comes to work, he ends up infecting other employees, who in turn get sick.”

LadyMarissa's avatar

Employers like this don’t care IF the entire office gets sick as long as they bring in a doctor’s excuse!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because of abuses of sick leave in the past.
It’s not hard to get one. Just go to the doc, tell him you feel like crap, and he’ll write you a note.

flo's avatar

@LadyMarissa Those are rare I’m guessing.

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