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THE INC. LIFE

Why Entrepreneurs in Asia Should Refrain From Having Rigid Attendance Policies

Please let sick employees stay home.

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BY Suzanne Lucas - 12 Feb 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The flu is terrible this year and because the flu shot isn't very effective this year, there's a chance you'll get it even if you did the responsible thing and get your flu shot.

This means that your employees are likely to get sick as well.

And the flu isn't the only thing hitting people this year. My town has also been hit with norovirus, which means contagious vomiting and diarrhea. Basically, everyone is living in a panic all the time that they'll be next.

And you, with your policies of doctor's notes, not allowing people to go home, treating people who take sick days as slackers, and coming into work when you're sick yourself are making it much, much worse.

Repeat after me: Sick people need to stay home.

If you or an employee has a fever or is plagued with digestive tract ailments, they should stay home. The world will not end, nor will your business be destroyed if someone stays home while sick.

Ideally, that person should be resting, which means laying on the couch and watching Netflix. But, I'll settle for doing a bit of work from home in a pinch.

But there should be no punishments for illness. No points docking. No bad marks against attendance. People should have paid sick days and should be encouraged to use them when they are sick. (The latter should not have to be said, but it does. Additionally, sick days should not be paid out when someone quits. That encourages people to not use them.)

But, wait, you say, if we allow people to stay home whenever they say they are "sick" they'll never come into work!

Really? Is that the problem you have right now? I can guarantee you that an employee who takes excessive sick days when he is not really sick will have other performance issues. If someone calls out sick and then comes in the next day with a new hairdo and a tan, you can absolutely address it. But, generally, if a good employee calls out sick, that person is sick.

And here's the thing: If you have a rigid attendance policy that encourages people to come in while sick, your slacker employees will still stay home and your hard workers will still come in. The slackers don't care about getting fired and the hard workers want to be perceived as hard workers. So, your sick hard workers come in and get everyone else sick.

While diseases, such as the flu, are often contagious before symptoms appear, you should still stay home as much as possible while you do have symptoms.

Yes, encourage your staff to get flu shots. Install hand sanitizer stations at each door and encourage people to use them. Keep the office clean. These things all help, but the most important thing is to have everyone stay home when they are sick. Period.

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