Is Your Employer Phasing Out Sick Days?

Woman blowing her nose into a tissueMore employers are offering work-from-home positions and flexible hours to attract new hires. Not only can working from home help you concentrate on your work, you may be healthier for it. Working from home can save you from sitting in a row of cubicles next to sneezing and sniffling coworkers.

However, with the rise of home office options since the 2008 recession, another shift is arising.

The Fall of the "Sick Day"

Some employers have rebranded "sick days" as "personal emergency days" to accommodate those with chronic illnesses, dependents and other personal responsibilities. This is part of a larger cultural effort to destigmatize mental illness, parental duties and other unexpected circumstances.

Sick employees sometimes feel that they need to demonstrate loyalty and go into the office even if they are ill. They may do this to avoid disciplinary action or office stigma. Even if you do work from home, you may feel the need to answer emails on your smartphone or brainstorm a business solution in the evening of a regular work day.

It's a Balancing Act

Although working from home could sound like a luxury, it may put you in a more vulnerable position. You could be seen as more "dispensable" than employees who are in the office -- an "out of sight, out of mind" scenario.

If you cannot take a sick day without fearing that you will be fired, your employer may have unrealistic or illegal expectations of your work. Overworked employees are more vulnerable to disease or infection which could put a strain on your career goals.