Calling in Sick
Many workers in the U.S. know someone who proudly claims to have “never taken a sick day.” But the pandemic, and younger generations arriving in the workplace, have changed attitudes.
Rewriting the Norm
Nearly a third of white-collar workers have taken a paid sick day in 2023, up from 21% in 2019. Workers in their twenties and early thirties are driving this trend as flexible work reshapes the workplace.
The American workplace has a deep-rooted culture of not taking days off. But the pandemic changed that.
For one, with a heightened focus on public health, there’s a larger stigma toward showing up to work sick. After years of masks and tests, nobody wants to sit next to a sneezing, or coughing, colleague. On top of that, younger generations feel more entitled to using their benefits — as is their right.
Also, the tight labor market is compelling employers to be more accommodating when it comes to addressing workers’ needs.
Today’s “Sick Day”
The meaning of sick days has also shifted.
For example, many states allow sick days to be used for more flexible reasons than personal health, including family emergencies, caring for children or parents’ health issues, and even taking mental health days. The number of companies providing unlimited sick time has risen too.
It’s notable that this shift is occurring despite the rise of work-from-home, which makes it easier for employees to punch in even while under the weather. The evolution of the workplace has officially gone beyond remote work.
Read more reporting here.
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