sick/personal day vs. work at home day?

hi all. we are a small company in ny. our existing policy is no telecommuting allowed, employees get up to 5 paid sick/personal days a year. this is no longer working. we have staff who are too sick to come in or have a sick child but can work from home and expect to not get charged a sick/personal day, or charged for just a half-day.  we need to implement a looser telecommuting policy but also protect ourselves against employees abusing the policy (putting in minimal time and saying they worked from home, or taking too many work from home days). can someone please offer any advice on this issue? thanks!!


  • 1 Comment sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Are these exempt or non-exempt employees? What state(s) are you in? My answer is based on federal law only. You will need to see if your state law has any further requirements. When staying home for sick person/child, if they are exempt, as long as you pay them full salary for the week, you can deduct part of that salary from your PTO bank based on how many hours they don't work in most states. The main question is how you track what they worked vs what they did not work. Or you can have a policy that if you work from home (no matter how much time in one day), you still get hit with a PTO day or a 1/2 day or whatever you want the policy to be. Again, as long as they get paid for any full day in which they work any little bit at all. (Assuming you have a bonafide sick plan which it sounds like you do). If they run out of the sick time and/or take a full personal day with no work then you can dock the whole day. If the timeoff is relevant to FMLA,then you can dock the partial day. Otherwise, you can only dock their PTO banks, but in any increment that you normally would. If they are non-exempt, it gets stickier because you must pay them for every hour worked. I know many companies that do not allow telecommuting for non-exempt/hourly employees at all....unless they have to log into a system that captures their work and time spent. Some other suggestions: (1) you put an "amount of service" into the plan. That is, you must have been with the employer for x years to be eligible for telecommuting, even on sick days. That way, it truly is employees that you know. You could tie it into their last performance review....that is, this is a benefit that they have to earn. (2) Another thing to put in is that you must have another childcare-giver at the home during all times which you will be working. Many times this is the sticking point and when the employee realizes it, they give up on the notion of working from home. (3) Unless it is a formal schedule of telecommuting, I would limit it to x days a year, x days in a row and even then require supervisor approval on the specific date in question. (4) Put something in your policy that their eligibility can be revoked based on feedback from supervisors, coworkers, clients, etc. Basically that the employer is the one who decideds and that the situation can be changed without prior notice. (5) make sure to set boundaries on what they can and cannot do from home (taking confidential files home, etc) (6) check on your workers compensation to see if/what/when would be covered when working from home. That said, I telecommute 95% of the time and have been doing so for more than 2 years. Prior to that, I was able to do so years ago at a high success rate. This is a huge benefit/perq but abuse can easily happen.
Sign In or Register to comment.