"Broad" definition of sick time

In everyone’s opinion, is it morally OK to take a sick day from work when I am only mildly sick, but have to help with my children who are very sick?


Thanks to all –

Yes, that is ok in my opinion. Does your company have a definete policy for sick time? IF they say you can only take it if you are sick, then you should only take it because you are sick. If you are mildly sick, and other people in your family are sick, then the company should want you to stay home to keep you from infecting other people.

If they throw a fit, run your hands all over your kids nose and then go shake hands with your boss and smear it all over his office:D

Absolutely. When I was in the paid workforce, caring for sick children was actually included in the Human Resources literature for acceptable uses of “sick time.” :thumbsup:

Yes, you ARE sick and very possibly contagious - if your kids and you have the same thing, you probably gave it to each other. You may just be taking the symptoms better.

It is legal in my country to get sick days on the basis of your kids’ sickness even if you are completely healthy, so in my view denying this to a mother is what is immoral.

You are not lying, and you are doing the right thing for your kids.

Hope you all get better soon.

My company unfortunately is a little behind the times in their official policies concerning sick time – I’ll have to reread the official verbiage, but it’s supposed to be used only if the employee is sick, as I recall. I don’t feel great – headache, nausea, fatigue, and other general symptoms of parenthood and frequently interrupted sleep – but if my 2-year-old son hadn’t thrown up a half-dozen times within the past 24 hours I probably would have gone in.

My boss is pretty low-key, so I doubt it would come down to a tainted handshake! :rolleyes:

Thanks – actually, I’m the dad, I have two kids, one of whom (my 2-year-old son, who is still nursing) is very sick, and a 4-year-old daughter who isn’t showing visible symptoms yet but who needs constant physical therapy. My primary task was to take her to therapy and try to keep her from getting into any messes my son might make, to put it delicately. My wife’s job was to care for our boy. We usually trade that off, though.

Yes, that is ok. I think that companies understand that family comes first. I have taken personal days for my sick children in the past though…does your company offer anything like that?

Nothing specifically for children, although if I feel well and the kids are sick, I call in a vacation day, and for days like this where I feel blah but the kids really are sick, I try to make up for it by coming in when I really don’t feel well, even though the kids are fine – unless I think I’m contagious, in which case I would stay home. It’s always a judgment call, but if I’m keeping my overall sick time used to at or under 3 days per 6 months, I’m fine. Anything over that and the salary review board wants a written explanation as to why so much sick time was taken.

After some extensive unpaid overtime, I recall telling my boss that I was taking the next day off due illness and fatigue - as I told him, I was sick and tired of the place. He laughed and said he wished he had thought of that first.:smiley:

Well at least you have sick time. My company just has PTO…Paid Time Off which is inclusive of vacation and sick days. Only because I have been there longer than 5 years, I have 3 weeks. less than 5 years only have 2 weeks. At least I don’t have to worry about the morallity of taking sick time. :frowning:

The whole sick time being for solely when your ill kinda throws me for a loop. It always seemed to me it would just be better to be thought of as paid time off unless one is really abusing it. Things happen, car won’t work, and the such. If you could plan it out, then put it in in advanced, but emergencies happen. Anyway, if your not paid, then you have to take one more day off later for your time.

Plus anytime one should call in, should be made into context of the situation. I work in a non-sales floor position in retail, for me to call in right about now, ought to be done for only a very good reason. If it’s in the middle of Febuary, when other people’s hours are cut or the workload is not all that full, that’s a whole different thing. If your working on tax returns for April 15, you might plan before and after that date differently. Besides what good are you if your trying to work out arrangments while at work, to try to get your sick child in proper care, much less passing on possible infections?

I guess for myself I’d use the written policy as a guide, but then take it all into context of the actual working policy. If you feel you are put into a position where you are lying, I’d then try to work it out with the supervisor.


That seems the most plausible approach to me as well. In my specific case, it turns out my wife and I both had the same bug my son had – intestinal virus – and so there was no question after that. I went in for about an hour this morning, still nauseated but I had something that needed to be done, and my boss told me to go home and have a happy Thanksgiving.

I try to avoid the possibility of lying (ie. saying I’m sick when I’m not) by using vacation time. If I feel like I can justify calling in sick based on my physical condition, I may call in sick when my children are sick even though I might go on in to work if I felt the same way and my kids were well, the primary justification being that I might pass on whatever bug my kids have. Last thing I want to do is give my boss and co-workers an intestinal virus just in time for Thanksgiving!

If you are not physically ill, it is a mental health day. This will cover just about anything that comes up. Don’t worry about it.
I haven’t had a job with paid time off in decades, so I don’t worry about much in that regard.


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