Advanced search

To think people should not come into work with contagious illnesses

(25 Posts)
Jusfloatingby Wed 24-Oct-12 13:14:40

A colleague has just spent the morning coughing and sneezing all over the place and talking about how she's 'dying'. Last year she came into work with a stomach bug and loads of us got it.

She is the kind of person who's always boasting about how she hasn't taken any sick leave in ten years.

AIBU to think people who are genuinely ill should just stay at home and not come in spreading germs all over the place?

Clement72 Wed 24-Oct-12 13:20:45

Well I sympathise - but on the other hand, I've had this virus (horrible hacking chesty cough where I cough until I choke - it's delightful) for well over a month now and much as I'd like to be at home tucked up in bed, I don't think that would go down too well. If everyone took time off whenever they had a cough or cold, there would never be anyone in!

I can't shake this cough/virus. No joy from the doctor as it's viral not bacteria so not point in anti-biotics.

Just to contradict myself totally though - I agree re stomach bugs.

MrsTwinks Wed 24-Oct-12 13:22:08

Depends, yes it isnt great, but as someone who doesn't get sick pay I can understand why some do it - sometimes I can't afford to lose a days pay. But then, if you do get paid sick, then YANBU

throckenholt Wed 24-Oct-12 13:23:32

My office mate did similar last week. He was very proud he hadn't had a day off sick in x years. I would much rather if you have something infectious - stay away, get well and don't spread it to the rest of us (who might get it worse than you as well).

Clement72 - someone I know had something like that recently and the GP treated it as whooping cough.

FunBagFreddie Wed 24-Oct-12 13:28:24

YANBU, but some companies have a culture of presenteeism, or they penalise any time off for illness, albeit in an unspoken way.

EdsRedeemingQualities Wed 24-Oct-12 13:30:45

It's counterproductive. Yes they might get some work done but it just means everyone else is likely to need time off instead.

Like people who bring their ill children to school because they can't take the time off work - well, neither can the rest of us, but thanks to them, we all have to.

butisthismyname Wed 24-Oct-12 13:35:21

I have had a shitty stinking cold and am hideously depressed at the moment. I managed to take last Thursday off and stayed in bed all weekend (friday my normal day off) I still feel ill, but run a tiny charity with 3 part time employees one of whom is on long term sick, one of whom is an outreach worker anyway and an administrator who does two day per week. I'm not a martyrin the slightest but I really cannot be off! Luckily I have my own office so can hack and sob alone!!

Jusfloatingby Wed 24-Oct-12 13:41:42

I realise some people have no choice but to come into work sick because either they won't get paid or they have unreasonable employers who make life difficult for anyone who takes sick leave.

However, where I work we can take a certain number of sick days off per year without losing pay and there is no negative attitude from Management unless someone is totally abusing this eg always out sick on Mondays or somesuch.

There's absolutely no reason for this woman to come in. She will get paid and her boss won't mind. Instead though she prefers to 'struggle' in, work below par, spread her illness around and then boast about never taking sick leave. angry

TigerFeet Wed 24-Oct-12 13:53:19

THat is annoying OP. Some people just enjoy being martyrs to the cause. I would bet that she's not feeling as ill as she says either, does she like to be centre of attention?

I go to work when I'm ill, my company starts a disciplinary process if you're off more than twice in six months, which when you have children bringing home bugs from school/nursery is hard to avoid, especially in winter. It doesn't matter if you've had perfect attendance for years beforehand - twice in six months triggers the process. My only exception is stomach bugs as it's a food production site and we have an exclusion policy of 48hrs post d&v (still counts as time off sick though, and is included in your sickness count, even though you may be perfectly well at this stage just banned from site). This also includes time taken off with ill children, unless you use annual leave. Also if I'm off sick there's no one to pick up much of my work and I come back to a massive backlog. If I have a cold or whatever I tend to struggle in and hide in a corner doing as little as possible, it's just easier.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 24-Oct-12 13:58:13


If you work for a company that is understanding of illness, then your colleague is being extremely selfish.

I understand that some companies are very unfair when it comes to sickness, so people coming in when they are ill is slightly more understandable, but even then I don't have a huge amount of sympathy.

FunBagFreddie Wed 24-Oct-12 14:26:04

Some companies are ridiculous about staff taking sick days for themselves or because of their families. I worked at one place, and a guys wife was suddenly taken ill - they had a young baby. He needed to take the afternoon off.

He might as well have taken a big steaming shit on the director's desk given the reaction.

It was quite a small business and they are usually the worst for forcing sick employees to come in ime.

throckenholt Wed 24-Oct-12 14:26:18

Is a cultural thing though isn't it ? You see those adverts on the Telly - got flu ? Have a lemsip and you can go to work normally and function as normal. It helps to create the expectation that you are never too ill to go to work. Don't worry about spreading it to everyone else, they can take a lemsip too !

Completely misses the point that if you really had flu, you wouldn't be able to get out of bed, much less go to work normally. And you might well be the type of person who gets a cold and it wipes them out for a few days, as opposed to the lucky person who just feels a bit off, and has a sniffle.

It would be far better for employers and workers, to work on the principle - most people can be trusted to judge if they are fit for work. If not - stay at home and get well quicker. Those who abuse that trust will soon be obvious and can be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.

BionicEmu Wed 24-Oct-12 14:40:54

I've had an awful chesty thing too - coughing so hard I can't breathe, coughing so hard I'm sick. Went to ooh doctor a week ago after I coughed up blood, but he just said I had a nasty cold and gave me some antibiotics, which have done bugger all. Unfortunately I've been going to work as I had 2 months off sick over the summer with mental health issues, after having a month off earlier in the year with a slipped disc.

Nobody at work is happy that I'm there, but I'm on sickness monitoring so if I have any more time off sick I face a dismissal hearing.

ClippedPhoenix Wed 24-Oct-12 14:50:46

Bionic I feel your pain. I've had a virus and bloody hacking cough for 2 months now. I've pulled muscles in so many places from coughing spasms I can't be bothered to list them.

What can you do? You can't take months off for a cough. Well you can't where I work anyway.

The tummy one, ok yes, a couple of days off instead of infecting anyone else is do-able.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Wed 24-Oct-12 15:02:08

It depends on whether , if you take time off sick, you will have a job to come back to! I used to work for a large retailer who's allowable percentage was laughable! Any unauthorised absence was included in sickness, and if you went over the % you got disciplined! I know of more than one person who lost their job.
One particular person, had to delay cancer treatment, as she was due to retire, and any time taken sick would have affected her pension...

HorraceTheOtter Wed 24-Oct-12 15:06:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HorraceTheOtter Wed 24-Oct-12 15:08:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

maddening Wed 24-Oct-12 15:13:46

I know how you feel - was paranoid when I was pg as my then employers were very strict with sickness. I spent a morning sat next to a woman with a swollen neck thinking that she shouldn't have been in - she was off the next day having been diagnosed with mumps. Illnesses just spread so fast in work.

WhereYouLeftIt Wed 24-Oct-12 15:20:40

Next time she boasts about never being off sick, point out that when she brings her sickness in to work she is hitting the corporate productivity much harder (by making everyone else get sick) than if she just took a day's sick leave. Tell her it's very selfish of her TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE GET SICK just for the pleasure of being able to make that statement. And that you and the rest of her colleagues would be much obliged if she would behave more rationally and keep her germs away from you all thank you very much.

Do not pull any punches. Sanctimonious pain in the arse that she is.

Jusfloatingby Wed 24-Oct-12 15:22:09

Earlier this year I was due to go into hospital for a major operation. My father was also very ill at the time and I was visiting him in hospital every evening. The week before my op a girl I shared an office with came in streaming with a cold, coughing and sneezing. I just could not believe her lack of consideration. Not only would by op have been postponed if I caught her cold but I could also have given it to my father who was recovering from serious pneumonia.
People need to think sometimes.

Nothingontvat3am Wed 24-Oct-12 15:50:40

Unfortunately most employers/managers don't seem to care if you are sick they just care if you're in work or not. I recently struggled with a really bad flu - floored me. My dr advised me not only to take the week off work but to take a further week to fully rest and get my strength back cause it was so severe.
Had to phone my boss every day to tell him still ill, still same symptoms. Each time was an inquisition. Made to feel like a liar. Endured comments such as when I have a cold I just take a couple of paracetamol and feel much better. That would be great if it had been the cold. Would also like to point out that I have not been off sick for YEARS. I am usually the one that struggles in no matter what I just couldn't this time. Ironically when I do that he normally says oh look at you poor thing you should be home tucked up in bed.

SusanneLinder Wed 24-Oct-12 15:57:42

Nope I have sympathy for people who come into work sick. We get disciplined if we get so many sick days per year, and my DH has just been hauled in to his manager and accused of being holiday when he was sick (blue lighted to hospital with an asthma attck,not sure that works), cos he "happened" to mention that we enjoyed our summer holiday in August and we "might" go back in October. It was September he was off sick.

BionicEmu Wed 24-Oct-12 16:20:50

ClippedPhoenix It's just awful isn't it? I'm with you on the every muscle in my body hurts from the force of the coughing - even my eyes! I'm 26 weeks pregnant too, which I don't think is helping. Aside from anything else, my stomach muscles are in agony, and the poor baby seems to hate my coughing as he gives me a good jab aiming for my ribs whenever I cough (not really helping!)

I don't know what the answer to all of this is - people have to go to work or face disciplinary actions. Where I work, 3 occassions of sickness in a rolling year, OR 10 days off sick in a rolling year automatically triggers the sickness monitoring process (I work for the NHS). So after I came back to work after slipping a disc last winter I automatically triggered even though I had doctor's notes for the whole month. A few months later I had mental health problems where I was hospitalised for a while, so was off work for a further 2 months, all fully documented in letters from my psychiatrist. As I said, now I can't have any more time off sick or I face a dismissal hearing. Which is crap, because as many of my colleagues have said, I shouldn't have to keep a box of tissues next to me on the lab bench for coughing up blood into, or have to keep stopping the work I am doing to sit down for 5 minutes after going dizzy from the coughing. And I've already passed it on to at least one other person, which I feel absolutely awful about sad

I can't help but think that periods of sickness that are covered by doctor's letters should be exempt when counting sickness for disciplinary matters. At the end of the day, a doctor has agreed that you shouldn't be in work, so who are your HR department to question that?

Pickles101 Wed 24-Oct-12 16:24:25

YANBU, I really don't like this & agree with others who say it's counterproductive. A cold, a cough, fine. But I really hate it when someone with a nasty stomach bug or the like still comes into work.

Am possibly a bit sensitive though as DP has just finished chemo, really upset me to know that he couldn't go out and have a whiff of fresh air during the cycles for infection risks. Plus I hate being sick.

KellyElly Wed 24-Oct-12 16:26:48

It depends. Colds are contagious but if everyone with a cold took a few sick days the economy would grind to a halt. Things like sickness bugs and proper flu then fair enough.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: