Opinion from Federal Times
Sick leave is a job benefit, not a privilege
While managers may have the legal right to use sick leave restriction letters [“How to fight sick leave abuse,” Ask the Lawyer column, April 19 issue], I could find no guidelines during my career on what constitutes sick leave abuse. There was no usable definition of what constitutes incapacity.
Is a headache sufficient reason to take sick leave? What about depression and other gray areas? Simply having a chronic condition may be reason for days off.
Having to submit to interrogation by a manager who may already be hostile toward an employee for absences is demeaning and rife with potential for abuse by the manager.
Not all conditions require a visit to the doctor, so requiring this documentation is not an effective way to respond to sick leave abuse.
Managers are not doctors and are not qualified to make decisions about what constitutes incapacity, especially in the absence of agency guidelines.
Managers are not employment lawyers and are not qualified to make judgments about what constitutes abuse.