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Staying ahead of summertime “sickness”

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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Small Business — tracks feedback from small-business owners. We run the poll question each Thursday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you suspect any of your employees of faking sickness on nice summer days?

  • Yes, sometimes: 44.09%
  • No: 37.63%
  • Yes, frequently: 18.28%

Let’s face it: We are all tempted by beautiful weather. The question truly is about the problem that absence causes an operation. A last minute call-out puts strain on a business as well as employees who show up and have to cover for the person who’s out.

Something to consider is converting a portion of sick time to personal days. The idea is to encourage employees who are looking for an occasional sunshine day to plan and request it in advance. That way, the company is able to organize to cover the work and not have to scramble at the last minute.

There are many ways to develop a policy and transition plan. An article from, a regularly mentioned blog in SmartBrief on Workforce, discusses handling weather-related absence.

Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group.