You know the feeling.
It’s Monday morning on a freezing cold winter’s day, the sun won’t come up for another two hours and you overdid it the night before.
Time to pull a sickie.
You might not know it, but so many people call in sick on the first Monday of February, it’s been dubbed National Sickie Day.
The combination of cold winter mornings, a weekend celebrating the first payday since Christmas and people sneaking off for job interviews as they start the year re-evaluating their careers, saw some 350,000 call in sick on this day last year.
So, you might think you’re in good company if you decide to help yourself to an unscheduled day off work. And let’s face it, nobody ever got sacked for just taking the odd day off here and there, did they?
Well, you might want to think again.
Telling your employer a bare-faced lie about not being fit for work could amount to gross misconduct.
If you call in sick – saying for example you have a stomach complaint – but are then seen on social media later in the day tucking in to a slap-up meal, your employer could decide to start disciplinary proceedings.
Chances are they will have covered just such a circumstance in their employee’s handbook and have a well-defined set of procedures in place for dealing with your dishonesty.
And if they can show that your absence rate is higher than your colleagues they might have even stronger grounds for action.
You are employed to be at work whenever possible, and failure to be so through a series of short-term sickies calls into question your reliability. Your boss could then be within their rights to call you in and tell you your absences are impacting the business and your attendance needs to improve. If it does not you could face a warning, followed by a final one and ultimately dismissal.
Of course, your boss must follow proper process in taking any action against you.
You should be given any evidence the company has and invited to a hearing to discuss the situation – at which you are allowed a colleague or union official to accompany you.
If the employer decides you have misled them about an illness, a sanction could be imposed such as a written warning or possibly dismissal. If you are dismissed, you must be given a right of appeal.
So, when Monday morning comes and the thought of staying under the duvet is particularly attractive, you might just want to think again.