Employee Illness Exclusion Policy

I am trying to rewrite mine right now and am running in circles on wording a couple things. Can anyone shoot me a copy of theirs? I need mine cleaned up and can use the guidance.

gvillenick AT gmail DOT com

What are you talking about? “exclusion policy?”

employee ill . . . runny nose . . . modified duty or sent home . . . sort of policy.

Mine is simple.

If you are too sick to come in or finish your shift, bring me a note from your Dr. that says you no longer pose a health risk to my customers and are cleared to return to work. NO NOTE NO WORK! it is amazing how few sick calls I get!

I have a similiar policy to thin2win, if they absolutely cannot work then they need to bring me a doctors note to say they are no longer contagious. If someone tries to pull the, “Well it’s just a cough but I can’t be around food” then I send them out door hanging, or banner shaking for their shift. There’s no reason they can’t work in some capacity.

Nick I have lived every extreme of this one. There are a lot of real life factors that really need to be looked at here. I know it is not legal to treat one employee different over another but sick days and the such really need a written policy but I also believe an incident to incident look at. Let me give my thoughts here:

  1. Typical sick employee. For whatever reason… cannot make it into work. Policy to call and notify as soon as they think they will miss work. Day or night before is better than 15 mins before shift. Now they take responsibility to attempt to call all others that can cover shift. This sometimes works and sometimes does not. Either way they must take first step to cover. Also good to really track history of late days and sick days…are they always Sat morning after a night of facebook party pics…etc. This is why you need to know your workers and build trust both ways!

  2. If they fail to find cover person I stepped in to help. Sometimes get better results when the boss asks. Earns goodwill points. Does not always work out.

  3. If this fails…life goes on but is harder on those working shift. Might get others to stay later or help as they can.

  4. Sick at work while working or obviously not well and you or others notice first. Sometimes we all feel bad or ill and going home is probably best no matter how busy the night. Also gives bad impression to customers with obviously sick worker making their food. Problem is some employees really care and do not want to leave and make it harder for co-workers. This is where you the owner / mgr need to step in and send them home! Again… if at beginning of shift… take 5 mins and have them try to find cover person.

  5. Ok…the Dr. note. Requiring a note for one or two days is a waste of money for all. If you are out for 3 days or more… stating a Dr’s note MAY be required will give you a little room to justify the request as needed. If you know the employee really well and you know what is going on then you might not need that note. If you have a worker that is sick 3-4-5 days a month… you have other issues to address. This needs to be spelled out in your handbook to protect your business also. Friends, relatives, whomever… you do need to protect your life invested interests! Even if someone has a legitimate illness that is ongoing… with smaller operations you need hired employees to be at work. This can lead to ada questions but their is a difference between disability accomidations and people that call in with their first cough or sniffle. Word this policy carefully and always have a local employment attorney verify your entire handbook.

  6. Now the lies! Call in sick last minute after you hear all week about the big party or concert. You haved someone ask about getting someone to cover shift and then after no success on that they call in sick. Some think that owners or mgrs will miss all the attempts or signs and believe you are ill. You need a strickt written write-up policy for this conduct. A written report in their file that outlines your belief that they lied or mislead for personal reasons. On the flipside I also would reinforce your sincere want to help them have lives outside of the workplace. Also that you understand that personal or family things do come up quickly at times and you will do your best to help them be made possible but it might not work out all the time. Try your best to help but make it understood that not all requests can be granted! Also that this cannot be allowed to be a once or twice a month request. If you really need a day off…ask in advance. If an emergency or special event comes up… you will work with them but cannot guarantee the outcome. If it is something really important or unique… then go short for the day or night and make this employee happy. It should make them respoect their job more and also put you in a better light. Might work harder for the night but build points with them also. Leverage for when you need them to help you the business out! Works boths way people!

  7. Lastly I would say you need to address calling into miss work for an illness of a child, spouse, parent…etc. Now the FMLA and your size of business…etc… a lot comes into play here. Is this a one or two day estimated…ie: kid has flu… or mom is passing and you need weeks or months off. First make sure you fully understand the FMLA and all other applicable state and federal laws. Also… this needs to include the trust and understanding of your employees. I am not saying you need to buddy everyone and know all aspects of life…but pay attention a bit and try to get an understanding of their home and personal lives. It will make understanding these requests easier when they come up and maybe allow you to ask before the emergency sick day needed by asking…“hey…how is your mom doing… do you anticipate needing some time off soon…etc???” Is there anything I as the owner or mgr can do to make this easier for you? Adjust regular work days…etc…

Finally… as I have said so many times before… learn to know and build trust with your employees. Take interest to a point that will help these situations go much more smoothly. Treat, pay, offer benfits, etc… to the best capacity that you can offer or afford to do so. Again I understand that money is tight right now but I also know 10-12 great employees will do the work of 20 so-so ones everyday of the week! You also get more responsible workers and you can pay and offer so much more when you only have 10-12 or so instead of 20 workers doing the same job. Also so many fewer headaches that it is really a win-win aross the board!

In closing… please have your entire employee handbook read and understood first by your attorney to make sure that you not only covered all you need to but did so legally from your local, state, and federal levels. Then have a 100% everyone mandatory employee meeting where you read to all of your employees as they follow on their own… the entire handbook covering all issues on all pages! Stopping to ask after each section if anyone in the group has any questions or concerns with the content! Finally a short sitdown with you and at least one witness…say your mgr or assist mgr… with each and every employee to summarize the book and again verify they understand each and every point in the book. Then have them sign the “I understand, have voiced any and all questions or concerns I had, those questions and concerns have been satisfactorally answered or explained and that I acknowledge, agree upon, and will comply to the company policies laid out in this employee handbook that I have received a copy of!” Signed by owner, manager, and witness at the same time of meeting and signed and dated.

These are very important guide books and they help protect both owners but also employees… that said even with attorney stamped off on… the employees signature of understanding… etc… you will most likely always have someone that will still argue a point or decision made against them or towards others. The best and only good defense to this is a written inplace write-up policy to document any and all infractions either valid or not. Written-up… witnessed by mgr or assist mgr & owner… and after given explanation to the employee that is being written up… again signed by all even if the employee disagrees or argues the point. Just note objections. Have them include their own written explaination or defense to the write-up to be keep in their employee file. Also remember to do regular performance reviews of everyone… including taking time to get firsthand and annonymous reviews from your employees about the owner, mgrs, assist mgrs…etc. Employees like a voice too be heard but also can have issues about voicing them for fear of reactions from all. Be descreat when possible!

I think he is looking for something similar to this, more concerned about when you exclude employees from working with food for the safety of your customers.


Dang Mike…!

Sick day? What is that? If we have an employee that misses more than a day two once or twice in a year… well, never mind.

Over the thirteen years we have been open, our issues have been more on the side of whether the employee calling in is actually sick than whether to send someone home.

Rick wins the race. Health/Food Safety Requirement and not lame employee policy/concern.