Sick Day Madness: The Worst Absentee Days at Work

March 21, 2013 – In The News
MSN News

An annual study by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates that March Madness will cost American companies at least $134 million in lost wages over the first two days of the college basketball tournament. Between extending lunches, streaming videos and researching team statistics, the study reveals that there is a significant drop in productivity as well as internet speeds at work.

Although the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't track absenteeism at work on specific days, studies such as the one by Challenger and academic research paint a good picture of how employers nationwide scramble to prepare for massive blows to productivity during certain times of the year.

"Employers can crack down if they see patterns of excessive absenteeism," said Francis Cook, a labor and employment attorney at Fox Rothschild. "The key to addressing absenteeism is to state what the company's expectations are."

If you are a florist or retailer and your busiest day of the year is the day after major holidays, enforce a policy that says employees can't take those days off, Cook said.

"However, if an employee calls in sick, let's say the day after St. Patrick's Day, an employer can't take immediate action," Cook said. "But if the employer spots him at a St. Patrick's Day Parade or sees him post pictures on Facebook during medical leave, then there can be serious repercussions."

In that case, Cook said, the employee can even be terminated.