WE’RE WORKING ON IT: How sick is too sick to be at work?

Cold and flu season has arrived, and GSU staff reps are fielding inquiries about sickness, sick leave, and what makes you too sick to be at your workplace.

Three years ago you could haul your sniffling, coughing self into work and people would give you the side-eye and avoid you. COVID changed the way we view being sick at work, and lots of us have become hyperaware of our own health and the symptoms of illness displayed by others. In 2021, there appears to be a surging but sometimes unspoken preference that those who are obviously ill should stay away from the workplace as a precaution.

So how do you know when you are too sick to be at your workplace?

“There are a lot of factors to consider and it’s often a judgment call depending on the individual, their sick leave history, and the current situation,” said GSU staff rep Steve Torgerson. “There can also be slightly different advice based on the member’s collective agreement and their employer.”

“Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to check your collective agreement and to be aware of your accrued sick leave and what it can be used for,” Torgerson advises. “And, as always, no question is too small, so don’t hesitate to contact me or another GSU staff rep if you need clarification, have any questions, or concerns.”

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