The High Cost of Downtime in Manufacturing & How to Reduce It 
Explore how unexpected downtime can hike manufacturing costs and discover effective strategies to minimize it and ultimately boost productivity and profitability.
Usually, when an hourly employee calls in sick, you tell them to feel better or ask when they plan on coming back to work. If you have benefits or a more strict absence policy, then sometimes you need more information than just the notice of the absence.
Are you allowed to ask your employees why they are calling in sick? Is it legal? Can you ask for a doctor’s note? Or about ADA-related illnesses? Do different states have different laws?
How can you respond to a sick employee to ensure that you collect accurate information?
Different companies have different policies when it comes to sick leave. Employers must follow their internal policies and procedures consistently, not favoring any one employee over another.
Speaking with managers of hourly employees in warehouse, manufacturing, and retail, their most frequently asked questions about what they can and can’t ask were:
An employer may ask an employee to produce a doctor’s note, explaining the absence. However, an employer may not ask for specifics on a diagnosis or medicines prescribed.
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An employer is prohibited from asking any specific questions about an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protected illness.
If your hourly employees are unionized, you should review, understand, and follow the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which should address sick days and the rights of the employees. Like any internal policies and procedures, this agreement should be followed to a T. If you have a question about the CBA or an employee’s actions or inactions, you should contact the union representative.
Different states have different laws when it comes to sick leave, but California is particularly stringent.
In California, a law passed in 2016 specifically states that California employees can use paid sick days beginning their 90th day of employment with their employer. The law also covers all employees—including part-time and temporary—if the employees worked for at least 30 days for the same employer within a calendar year.
Although this law does not specify what an employer can or cannot ask an employee about sick leave, the California Department of Industrial Relations interprets the state law as prohibiting an employer from denying sick leave to an employee who fails to present a doctor’s note.
Collect data through an automated means so you can lessen the chance of error (or misinterpretation) of the employee’s response, the company’s policies and procedures, or the law.
By formally and adequately documenting the conversation with the employee, you have created a written record of the discussion in the event of possible dispute resolution.
To reduce legal risk, human resources professionals should create standardized questions when asking an employee about sick time, lessening the chance of a manager or other supervisor asking an illegal question by mistake.
By controlling the narrative, even if your company policy or applicable law changes, you don’t have to worry about managers adapting to comply. They should work from the script provided by HR, keeping them and your company legally on track.
Mitigate your legal risk by retaining employee details and attendance history for any potential dispute or audit resolution while keeping your collected data all in the same place.
Talk with TeamSense and learn how HelloFresh saved hours managing attendance through text. Book your demo today!