Would you donate your sick time?

United States
January 24, 2007 8:56am CST
My husband received a memo today from his boss. The memo asked my husband to consider donating some of his accrued sick days to a fellow employee in need. My husband has been on this particular job for 13 years and has taken 10 sick days. (each time for a major surgery). The memo does not state to whom the days would be given, likely due to privacy issues. My husband feels torn. On the one hand he would like to help an employee, (well, there are a few that he doesn't feel would deserve the days, as they call in sick routinely) but on the other hand, he is worried about giving the days up and needing them in the future. None of us know what the future holds in terms of our health! Just looking for some thoughts on the issue.
27 people like this
82 responses
@bonbon664 (3470)
• Canada
24 Jan 07
I feel for other people, but, I wouldn't give up my days. I've never heard of a company asking people to do this. I think it's completely unreasonable. What happens if your husband gets sick? He's screwed. Sounds like a ridiculous request, one I would never go for.
4 people like this
• United States
24 Jan 07
If I were healthy, yes, I would give up many of my sick days to another employee in need. I actually have. I worked for a large company at one point. A co-worker became very ill and was diagnosed with cancer. We were all asked to donate a minimum number of days to her, and most of the company did donate, some more than the minimum. I too would hope that if the shoe were on the other foot, my co-workers would come to my aid.
3 people like this
• United States
24 Jan 07
He actually did decide to give almost half of his days. He is leary of giving all of them. Surely if he ever needed the same consideration, then this employer would do the same for him!
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Jan 07
Well, yesterday is over and done. Nothing can be done about it. Today is the present, and we can only deal with that. Tomorrow may or may not come, so we cannot make definate plans. I know if it were me, I would definately give up a couple of my days for the person in need. And, if and when your husband should need those days back, perhaps that person would return them. Live for today, is my motto. Good luck with your decision. There is no right or wrong answer or choice.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Jan 07
Thanks margieanne. He ultimately decided to go with the 'golden rule,' which has yet to fail us! Yes, we are not guaranteed a tomorrow, so why base decisions upon 'what might happen.'
• United States
27 Jan 07
I'm proud of him, as you must be. It's right, we don't have any garentees for tomorrow.
@finlander60 (1775)
• United States
24 Jan 07
I say, let your heart be your guide. If in the future you were the one in need, wouldn't you be looking for others to reciprocate? Under that premise, I think your co-workers would be willing to give them up to you. What do you think?
• United States
25 Jan 07
Yes, my husband ultimately decided to donate almost half of his sick days. Living by the 'golden rule' has not failed us yet! He is trusting that his boss wouldn't be asking unless it was for a very good cause.
@tentwo67 (3384)
• United States
24 Jan 07
That is a difficult issue to think about, isn't it? One of my first thoughts is that if the person was someone your husband was close to, he would probably already be aware of the situation. I don't know that this is a good thing to consider in making the decision, but it is a thought that occurred to me. Maybe it's better to not know who it is. Maybe it's better to just think about it in a "golden rule" kind of way, of wouldn't we all want to believe that people would chip in to help us if needed? If he worked for this company for 13 years and only used 10 sick days, then he probably has a good bit accrued. Depending on the sick leave policies there, he might have even topped out on his accrual. That's how it worked at my last company. If that is the case, maybe he could give just a few days and know that he will be working to earn them back to have a maximum accrual available to him if needed. It's better karma probably to help, even if it's possible that it's one of the people who calls in sick a lot. In fact, with privacy issues being what they are, perhaps one of those "slackers" has actually been taking time off because of the same illness that has him/her needing these sick day donations now? I know that a lot of people abuse their sick time, but this is a possibility.
• United States
24 Jan 07
Wow, you bring up some good points. Yes, perhaps one of those who has been calling in was doing so because of a chronic illness. (It really appeared at the time to be related to nearby college football games!) But as you said, my husband decided to do the 'golden rule' thing and donate. He is donating almost half of this days.
1 person likes this
@Bee1955 (3886)
• United States
25 Jan 07
It5s obvious the boss isnt going to ask for donations unless the enormity of the need has already made known to him. I dont suppose he would go out on a limb for someone who calls in sick all the time, so it has to be for a long-time valuable employee. I would donate 10% of my sickleave for the individual trusting in my boss that its a legitimate need. When an employee "disappears" after a while, I'm sure your husband will figure out who needed it. Besides, your husband has had many years of good health (and I wish for many more), but you'll never know when one day he would have the boss ask around for him.
• United States
25 Jan 07
Very well said Bee. Your points are pretty much the ones upon which my husband had surmised and acted.
@mari61960 (4895)
• United States
25 Jan 07
That's a really tough descision. I've been there many times. When I'm working,"clears throat" the company I work for is fairly small. There are about 200 employees now. The are very generous with sick time, vacation days, personal and holidays. You can donate any of them to someone in need of sick time. Being a Manager I get more time than my employees. I was never out sick and when I was I woked 65 hours a week anyway, so I only used my vacation time. And believe me I took vacations alot. I always dreaded agonizing over donating my hours. I did donate a week to one of my staff that had a baby and the baby was sick. But even though I had so many hours, I always had a bad feeling about donating any. When I got Flesh Eating Bacteria in 2000, I had no short term disability insurance, only long term. That meant I wasn't going to be covered until after 3 mos. Well I was still in the hospital until after 4 mos. I had enough time built up to cover all but 3 days of the 3 month waiting period. So I was able to get my regular pay the whole time. Darn good thing because my mother was paying all my bills and rent and taking care of all my animals. So now I don't mind not donating or just donating a bit...lol
• United States
25 Jan 07
See, you ended up with something that required months of treatment. That was what was worrying my husband, what happens if he ends up needing the days? Oh well, he did decide to donate half of his days. (which was a little much in my opinion, but he has a heart of gold)
@villageanne (8554)
• United States
24 Jan 07
I think I would question who neeeded my sick days and why. Then I would make a decision based on that knowledge. I dont know his company but it may be a way just to keep from having to pay him for his sick days. I am a firm believer that Knowlede is power. I dont think the memo has enough info to make a decision.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jan 07
Oh village, that is a twist that my husband never considered. You are correct, how do we know if there is even a sick employee needing the hours? Well, my husband has already donated almost half of his days, I hope it wasn't in vain.
• United States
24 Jan 07
I've often wished that my company would allow me to donate sick time. There have been many good people at work who have had cancer or other issues... they worked through the sickness even though they were terminally ill. They should have been spending that time with their families, but they couldn't afford to risk losing their job and health benefits by taking too much medical leave. A lot of us were begging to be allowed to donate our vacation and sick time to help a couple of them, but we were told that we could not do that. They wound up working right up until days before they passed away. So yes, if I could do it I would. And if your husband's employer allows it then perhaps if he needed more sick days someday, someone might remember his generosity and do the same thing for him.
• United States
25 Jan 07
You are a very thoughtful person to desire to help your fellow employees by donating your time. I can't belive the company wouldn't allow you to help out a fellow employee. It should be no skin off their hind end! They pay the days wage, not matter to whom?
@KrisNY (7591)
• United States
24 Jan 07
I hate to say this but without knowing who the person was and why they needed them- I would say no. At least I would have to know who it was-- if it was someone who called in sick all the time and abused the system- I couldn't give them to them. If it was someone who didn't and I knew that they really needed them I most certainly would. Now I wouldn't give up all of them but if each person gave a few it would greatly help the person in need. I worked for the state of NY and this happened to me. The person didn't ask but we all knew they were having some major problems with their child and the girl was out of work for a while- We got together and each of us gave up 2 -- That just meant that she was paid and didn't have to worry about work and money for almost a month! Its great to help people out-- I always think that if I needed it someone would be there and help me.
• United States
25 Jan 07
That is awesome that you helped out a fellow employ with that much paid time off! A month with pay is a great thing to have when dealing with a major family problem.
@armywifey (883)
• United States
28 Jan 07
I think I would have to know the reasoning behind losing my hours before I could make a decision. If it was someone who needed them for a major medical emergency I would give up some possibly. I would also be worried about losing days that I may be needing in the future. It would be a tough decision to make. Just don;t let him feel guilty if he decides to keep his days.
1 person likes this
@carmat (2850)
• Canada
26 Jan 07
I have a set amount of sick time being on salary, I never use them but at the same time would like to know they were there if I really did need them. It would be a hard choice to make, a gamble for sure, I probably would do it.
@lisado (1230)
• United States
25 Jan 07
Hmmmmm. I don't know. I guess it would depend on how many I had accrued. Does he lose any of them at a certain point if they aren't used? I guess I'd have a problem with not knowing who they were going to and why. I know about privacy rules, but sometimes, when asking for money (which sick days ARE since you'd be donating paid time off) I want to know where it's going and why. Is the person really in a pickle or are they abusing someone else's good nature? You don't have all of the information to make that kind of choice. If it were me, call me selfish, but I would say no, unless they were going to expire (some places don't carry time off over to the next year) and I might not need them. I would still want to make sure I had at least a week because, like you said, you never know when an emergency would come up and you'll need them. I believe in a person's privacy, but when asking for "money", I like to know where it's going. To many people abuse the system.
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
25 Jan 07
well, i think if other people needed it more than us, then yes... i will donate it... i believe that by doing good deeds, we will feel good for ourselves and there will be something good in return... when your husband does that, he will get it back when he needs it in the future... rest assured...
1 person likes this
@wesderby (178)
• United States
25 Jan 07
My company, the Seattle Public Library, does offer us the option of donating our sick time to other employees. They let us know how many hours the person needs in total by sending out an all-staff email, and all elligible parties are invited to submit a sick leave donation form. I had a coworker who'd become very ill, and in fact ended up taking over his job in a temporary capacity when he left. He was out long enough to where he ran out of sick time and needed several hours. This was before I had a kid, so I didn't think I'd need the month of sick leave I had accrued since I'm rarely sick, so I donated a few hours. I was happy to help this guy out, especially considering everything he'd taught me over the three and a half years I'd known him...I'm not necessarily a believer in Karma, but I did continue in his job temporarily for a year after his eventual retirement due to the illness, and in February of 2005, got the job permanently. I know that was based on my credentials, performance, and interviews, but I can't help but believe God rewarded me for the giving of the sick time. I have to admit, now that I'm a father, I'd be more hesitant to do it...This is only because my wife's company has less-than-good sick leave benefits as far as payed time off...So when my daughter is ill and needs to stay home from daycare, because I have the greater amount of sick leave, I'm generally the one who stays home with her.
@innechen (1321)
• Indonesia
25 Jan 07
i understand your husband's thought about this.its true that its not an easy choice.why dont he go to the boss and ask for whom if he will give his days? tell the boss that he dont want to give it without knowing whats happens to the employee.and if the boss still refuse then dont give it.but if your heart really want to help then dont bother about who it is and if its for real sickness or not, just give it.may God will give ur husband with health since he has been very kind people
1 person likes this
@vanities (11387)
• Davao, Philippines
25 Jan 07
i dont think i will...coz everyone have it..why should i donate my sickleave?? is it allowed in your ofc to donate it..? mine is not allowed..its not legal i think...your employer or your hubbys employee have no right to ask for it for somebody...
@wmg2006 (5383)
• United States
25 Jan 07
I am sure if the boss has requested this from your husband for an employee in need he would do the same for your husband if he needed extra days too. I find it VERY odd that any company would ask this from an employee, when all the company has to do is allow the other employee time off. I personally would have to know more, lke who is it for and what is the reason. I would not give up anything I earned to help someone out that I did not and that I was not allowed to know why. the company can help the emloyee out if it is that important. This such an odd request from a company.
1 person likes this
@mchu519 (465)
• United States
24 Jan 07
If your husband's boss a good person and not one of those cocky backstabbing cowards, then it might be a good idea to donate his sick time. This will give your husband a better chance of getting a promotion or higher pay in the future because the boss will reconize him as a valuable asset to the company. Some times you need to make sacrifice to obtain possible better future. Considering within 13 years, your husband only took 10 sick days, I'm pretty sure he got a lot of sick days left over. It's a very good idea to suck up and I'm sure a lot of people would agree with me. Since you think he might need those sick days for other circumstances, just do what you feel like.
@shywolf (4520)
• United States
24 Jan 07
That is a very tricky situation indeed. :/ As you said, one never knows what the future holds in terms of needing days off for health issues :/ But if the person in question is really ill and is in desperate need of the days, I would feel inclined to do it. The problem is, as I can see, that your husband has no idea who the person in question is who needs the days, because they won't disclose that information. That really is what makes this so tricky. I too would have a hard time giving up my days without knowing the full situation of the person who needs them. So I don't blame your husband one bit if he decides not to do it.
1 person likes this