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illegal sick-call policy? California

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  • illegal sick-call policy? California

    hi,

    i work in a large dog boarding and day care facility in california. here, our sick call policy states that if we call in sick we must find coverage for our shift. if we do not (or more likely, cannot) we get written up. of course, this can also be cause for termination if it becomes a regular problem. is this policy legal? to me it seems unfair because most of the people who work there are part time because they have other obligations, like school and are unable to work certain days. others are already working full time, so coming in would be a problem because they would be in overtime, and of course management doesn't want that either. its really difficult to find coverage for a shift, especially for those who have to work at 645 in the morning. its not like they can just start calling people at 5 in the morning to find coverage. anyways, what do you guys think? legal, or not legal?

  • #2
    Yes it is legal. There is no law that states that the employer must be the one to find coverage when you need to take off. It is not uncommon for employers to place this burden on the employee.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Yes, it is legal and that's because there is no law that says it isn't. It's actually a policy I don't personally agree with, because I think that is a manager/supervisor/owner responsibility to cover staffing issues, but it's not illegal to require it and to write you up if you don't do it. Is there a list of on-call people you can contact? I would imagine they would be used to being called at all hours.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        i've just never worked at a place with a policy like this. i suppose even if it was borderline not legal, i did sign paperwork at the beginning regarding this attendance policy. i suppose that fact alone would make it legal.

        can anyone point me to a good understandable website with reference information about labor laws for california on it? i looked before i came here but i couldn't find one.

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        • #5
          Start here http://www.dir.ca.gov/
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
            Is there a list of on-call people you can contact? I would imagine they would be used to being called at all hours.

            no there is no list of on-call people i can call. and i know i am not used to being called at all hours...i agree that this is a responsiblity of management.

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            • #7
              but shouldn't there be some sort of caveat that says if you make a genuine effort to find coverage you should not be subject to write up? i mean, how can i get written up for something that is beyond my control. i cannot compel someone to work for me if they are unable to. it just seems unfair... sorry for whining.

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              • #8
                Maybe there should be. But no law is going to require it. This is not the first I've heard of this policy, btw.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by meeegun View Post
                  but shouldn't there be some sort of caveat that says if you make a genuine effort to find coverage you should not be subject to write up? i mean, how can i get written up for something that is beyond my control. i cannot compel someone to work for me if they are unable to. it just seems unfair... sorry for whining.
                  Maybe, but it isn't required by law. I suspect your employer has such a policy in place to help reduce absenteeism. Whether this is the best method ot not is debateable but yes they can write you up for not finding a substitute when you are unable to come in. I'd suggest getting the contact info and availability info from your colleagues.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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                  • #10
                    blah. you would think that in california, where there are laws on just about everything, the labor laws wouldn't have huge holes in them like this. ah well, at least i am properly informed now. thanks for the information, even if its not what i wanted to hear...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
                      I'd suggest getting the contact info and availability info from your colleagues.

                      ya, i already have that. thank goodness i have only called in sick once and i was able to find coverage.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by meeegun View Post
                        ya, i already have that. thank goodness i have only called in sick once and i was able to find coverage.
                        And, if you are available to be called when someone else is sick, your colleagues will be more likely to sub for you when you call. Golden rule and all that.
                        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          Many of my clients have policies like this. Most are smaller hospitals with no central "staffing" office (common in hospitals). The nurses have to find their own replacement if they can't make it to their regularly scheduled shift. They end up calling people as early as 4:00 am to get a replacement to start at 5:00 or 6:00.

                          This could possibly be seen as a perk. Look at it this way, if you get sick and call in sick, that is one unexcused absence per attendance policy. If you get someone to replace you (as long as it's at regular time), it's just a schedule change and there is no unexcused absence.

                          The employer doesn't care because the scheduling needs are met. The employee is happy because they didn't have to call in sick, they just switched shifts with someone and made a "schedule change."

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                          • #14
                            Where I work, my shift only has this policy. Management will find replacements if someone on the other shifts call in, but if someone on my shift is unable to work we have to find our own replacement.

                            Yes, it's kind of a pain, but it's legal.
                            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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