PTO - is sick leave for EE only, or whole family?

The Big Boss recently discovered that most supervisors over at least the past 10 years have misinterpreted our sick leave policy, incorrectly allowing EEs to use paid sick leave to stay home with sick kids or take Mom to doctor, etc. Policy is ambiguously written, but is interpreted by the Big Boss and the Board of Commissioners (who "authored" the policy) as to be used only for EE's illness or injury. Of course, longtime EEs are now throwing a hissy fit, claiming we're taking away a benefit.

Polling the area businesses (public and private), it looks like the standard practice here is about half-n-half. I know, the whole concept needs to be changed (HIPAA protects EE from disclosing whose illness is being cared for, combining all types of PTO would alleviate some of the problem, etc.), but the Board won't let change happen that fast. I need a workable solution for the next year or two...

So what do your policies say? Is sick leave only for the employee, or can the employee take sick leave to care for immediate family members (or is it even more liberal than that?)?



  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Our PTO can be used for anything. We no longer have holidays, they are included in your total PTO. For example, a new employee gets this:

    3 Weeks vacation = 15 days PTO
    10 paid holidays = 10 days PTO

    We don't have sick days, we don't have holidays, we just have PTO to use at our discretion. Our company has true flex time (everyone comes and goes as they please, we don't have set work hours) so we might have 5 people working on Christmas day and then take off two days for New Years...or because they want to sleep in. It works out well, we have a 1% turn over rate
  • We have sick leave and allow the EEs to use it for immediate family.
  • We still have separate sick, vacation, holiday and personal time. Sick can be use for employee or immediate family member (which is informally defined as spouse, parent or child).
  • We have STD (company funded) which is ONLY for employee and has to be certified (1st day injury 8th day illness).
    Personal time is for family illness (16 hours a year.)
    If you have something called "sick leave" it normally is for employee or immediate faimly where needed for care.
    That is one reason why I like the PTO policy. It doesn't matter what the reason. Those that abuse the system always get in their sick time. Those who are good employees never take theirs. (in over 25 years of service, I never took any "sick time".) The sick time way you are 'rewarding" those who could have an attendance problem and shorting those who don't. Go to the PTO if you can. (email me at [email][/email] and give me your fax number and I will be glad to fax you my old company's PTO policy. We don't use it here yet. I am working on that. Hard to change some of the old boys on this.)

    E Wart
  • We have both PTO and Illness Days.

    Illness can be used for immediate family members with a PTO day earned for each quarter that Illness Leave is not used.

    PTO is used for everything else but must be approved in advance of being used.

  • We have sick leave and it can be used for ee and/or immediate family members.
  • So now Abby, you're right back where you started. You have the directive from the boss and you have six unrelated opinions from people who matter not to the board.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 02-22-05 AT 08:02AM (CST)[/font][br][br]Don, this time, what you perceive as my misstep was actually asked for by the Big Boss in response to feedback from her supervisory staff. I'm polling upon specific request. It seems to me that information I've provided from this Forum and other HR resouces HAS influenced both the Big Boss's and the Board's decisions in the past. How she and they use the information is obviously up to them.

    By the way, combining the answers from here and from the local scene so far, it seems still to be about half and half. So, chances are, nothing is going to change just yet.


    Edit: by the way - Thank You to everyone who has responded, your remarks and additional information are very much appreciated
  • We have short term disability that is only available for the ee to use for his or her own illness.
  • Our company has PTO. It is by far the best! It combines sick leave, vacation leave, and whatever leave. I think it is the way to go. No more having someone call in with a scratchy voice saying they are sick, etc. If you are not feeling good, need some personal time off, etc. all you have to do is ask (as long as you have the time).

    I personally plan my time off. Usually every year I will look at my PTO available and figure out the extra days I want to take off (like day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, etc.) and my vacation time. I save the rest in case something comes up like getting sick, etc.

    PTO is just not as restrictive as "Sick" leave, etc. Employees don't feel like they have to make an excuse for taking a day off and their supervisor doesn't feel the need to be a "Mother Hen."

  • Abby,
    We have 2 types of leave: Personal Leave and Vacation. Personal leave can be taken for EE or family illness, emergency, or simply to take care of personal business. Vacation is just that.....vacation. Prior to 10 years ago, we had sick leave and vacation leave. Sick leave was only to be used if the employee was sick....well, not having much choice, we had employees calling in telling us they were sick when in fact their child, spouse, or parents were sick. This was not the truthful atmosphere we wanted, nor did we want to place our employees in the position of lying, so we changed our policy. All employees and managers were relieved and there is no problem with personal leave abuse. You are better able to manage FMLA leave if your employees feel they can be truthful.
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