Sending someone home sick

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,856
1,189
113
Do any EMS agencies have written policies for sending someone home sick? such as if an employee comes to work with a cold, they can be sent home (essentially against their will), especially since we deal with immunocompromised people a lot?

With the recent video from South Carolina with the crew being sick, one of the comments made was that the paramedic was sick and just wanted to go back to bed (and it was 3am during a 24 hour shift). Maybe she shouldn't have been permitted to work if she wasn't feeling well?
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
10,264
2,615
113
We don’t force anyone to go home however it is highly encouraged to do so. It also makes our risk assessment increase in score which could lead to issues if it’s too high.
 

GMCmedic

Forum Asst. Chief
715
344
63
I refuse to believe my sniffles are more detrimental than a hospital, or even the germs in an ambulance. I have kids in school and work with sick people, im always sick.

If I cant clear my ears ill go home, if I cant stay off the toilet ill go home, other than that I suck it up and do my job.
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
362
201
43
We have a strict set of criteria which includes things as simple as a productive cough, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and a list of other symptoms and you only need one to qualify. I can send people home, but I'm also not out to see if someone's cough brings something up and I'm not around with a thermometer scanning everyone's foreheads.

If you are sick it impairs your ability to provide patient care and puts patients at risk, and in the case of flight or hyperbarics could significantly injure you. That being said if I went through that list every day I think half of our staff would be sent home and there is no way we could stay operational.

Part of it is being a professional. You should know when you can provide good care and when you need to stay home.
 

RocketMedic

Earl of the Wheeled Chair
4,406
1,186
113
A good question would be “who disciplines employees for being sick?” At Creek, calling out or off sick was a write up that was “allegedly” non-punitive...but if that’s the case why use the progressive discipline system to document it ?
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,856
1,189
113
A good question would be “who disciplines employees for being sick?” At Creek, calling out or off sick was a write up that was “allegedly” non-punitive...but if that’s the case why use the progressive discipline system to document it ?
my first full time EMS job used to write people up for abuse of sick time. if you call out sick to many times, or were out for too many consecutive days, you received a counseling notice, which could be used for progressive discipline.

I can understand if you didn't have enough sick time to cover cover your call outs, or if were you known to constantly call out of shifts (especially ones you picked up).... but when I changed from FT to PT, I had almost 150 hrs of unused sick time... and I had one of those counseling notices in my employee file.

Suffice it to say, certain things are contributing factors to why many EMS agencies have morale and retention issues
 

StCEMT

Forum Deputy Chief
2,480
1,354
113
Full time employees here get 4 hours of PTO per pay period and we get no sick time. Everything is PTO. Vacation, sick, kids school event, whatever unless you get a shift swap. Shift swaps can only be within the same week, which doesn't leave very many options since we work 4x12. I always came in even if I was sick because I didn't have enough hours to take off and wasn't always able to work out a swap.

If I had sick hours I'd absolutely use them, because its rare I get sick and even rarer that I show up late or call out. This is also why I have stayed in part time status and just pick up full hours, I can't do **** with 4 hours/2 weeks if I have to cover everything with it.
 

cruiseforever

Forum Captain
494
141
43
Nothing in writing. I had a partner come in sick. Looked like hell. I told her to go home, because I was not working with her in her condition.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,856
1,189
113
Full time employees here get 4 hours of PTO per pay period and we get no sick time. Everything is PTO. Vacation, sick, kids school event, whatever unless you get a shift swap. Shift swaps can only be within the same week, which doesn't leave very many options since we work 4x12. I always came in even if I was sick because I didn't have enough hours to take off and wasn't always able to work out a swap.
I wish we had PTO... we had a sick bank, and a vacation bank, accrued at a rate that I don't even remember. I frequently didn't get to use my unused sick time (because I never called out sick), but liked taking a day off here and there, or taking a vacation away from work. Our shift swaps were the same way (although we worked 3/12s every 3 weeks, with the 4th week being a 4x12).

If you get 4 hours every pay period, that gives you 104 hours a year, which give you 8 2/3 shifts to not work every year (due to vacation, sick, etc). my EMS agency used to work a pittman schedule, so if I took a vacation day on my short week, usually a thursday or friday when I normally worked (on my 4th week I worked both days, otherwise I justed worked one of them), I would end up with 7 days off, which is more than enough time to do almost anything.

If I had sick hours I'd absolutely use them, because its rare I get sick and even rarer that I show up late or call out. This is also why I have stayed in part time status and just pick up full hours, I can't do **** with 4 hours/2 weeks if I have to cover everything with it.
Please elaborate on this statement. So your saying if your PTO accrual was changed to 2hrs vacation and 2 hrs sick every pay period, you'd use the sick time more often? I mean, your accrual rate seems low (but it is company decided), but what does it matter if it was sick time or PTO?
 

RocketMedic

Earl of the Wheeled Chair
4,406
1,186
113
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that banking PTO is generally a great way to have that PTO stolen from you. Working when “a little” sick might help the company, but will they help you when you need it? My general experience has been “no”, so I’m a firm believer in looking out for #1.

This isn’t the military and our employers often don’t have any responsibility or respect for us and our welfare, so it’s incumbent on us to be our own advocates.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
10,264
2,615
113
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that banking PTO is generally a great way to have that PTO stolen from you. Working when “a little” sick might help the company, but will they help you when you need it? My general experience has been “no”, so I’m a firm believer in looking out for #1.

This isn’t the military and our employers often don’t have any responsibility or respect for us and our welfare, so it’s incumbent on us to be our own advocates.
How are you having PTO stolen from you? The only way I could think of is if you aren’t keeping track of it and you max out so you stop accruing it. If that’s the case it only takes a couple of seconds to check how much you have.

I like to keep a healthy surplus of PTO time. If I want to take a long vacation then I am able to. If I need extra money I can cash some out. If I have a coworker in need then I can donate some.
 

RocketMedic

Earl of the Wheeled Chair
4,406
1,186
113
How are you having PTO stolen from you? The only way I could think of is if you aren’t keeping track of it and you max out so you stop accruing it. If that’s the case it only takes a couple of seconds to check how much you have.

I like to keep a healthy surplus of PTO time. If I want to take a long vacation then I am able to. If I need extra money I can cash some out. If I have a coworker in need then I can donate some.
Two ways: its use is either denied or an employer refuses to pay it out when you separate from an organization. I’ve had both happen to me.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
10,264
2,615
113
Two ways: its use is either denied or an employer refuses to pay it out when you separate from an organization. I’ve had both happen to me.
That is ****ty. It's CA law that employers have to pay out all PTO hours if you are fired/laid off/quit. When I dropped down from full time status to part time status on my ground ambulance job i completely forgot about my unused PTO so that was a nice surprise paycheck.
 

CCCSD

Forum Lieutenant
246
112
43
Two ways: its use is either denied or an employer refuses to pay it out when you separate from an organization. I’ve had both happen to me.
Sounds like you need to file a complaint with the NLRB. That’s theft and fraud, since it’s reported on your W-2 and taxes taken out.
 

WolfTails

Forum Crew Member
33
1
8
That is ****ty. It's CA law that employers have to pay out all PTO hours if you are fired/laid off/quit. When I dropped down from full time status to part time status on my ground ambulance job i completely forgot about my unused PTO so that was a nice surprise paycheck.
A company I used to work for did this a lot. They were very stingy with PTO and looked for any excuse to not pay it. If you moved from FT to PT and forgot to use your unused PTO you just lost it. They didn't cut you a check or anything and you didn't keep it when you went PT. If they found out you were quitting at any point in the future they would deny all of your PTO requests. People would end up burning through their PTO, then put in a 2 week notice.
 

RocketMedic

Earl of the Wheeled Chair
4,406
1,186
113
Texas, it’s not worth the fight to get what’s yours.
 

WolfTails

Forum Crew Member
33
1
8
A good question would be “who disciplines employees for being sick?” At Creek, calling out or off sick was a write up that was “allegedly” non-punitive...but if that’s the case why use the progressive discipline system to document it ?
I used to work for a service that "punished" employees for calling in. I had a situation happen to me years ago that put me into a really tight spot.

My mom passed away suddenly back in 2016 early in the year (February). I took 2 weeks of bereavement time to make funeral arrangements and give myself a little time to grieve. Well, when I took bereavement time the company used all of my PTO and vacation time for the whole year. Granted it wasn't much. We were only allotted 48 hours of PTO and 24 hours of sick time for the whole year. That job was my only source of income at the time so any check was better than nothing.

Flash forward to around May and I end up contracting mono. 104 fever, full body aches, weakness, the whole package. I call in sick for my shift (4am-7pm). Later that day I get a call from my manager. She tells me since I have no more sick time or PTO I can't call in sick anymore and if I do, they'll have to fire me.

The next shift I force myself to go to work to at least make an appearance. I'm so weak I can barely carry the monitor to the truck from the supply room. We run a dialysis call and finally at around 7AM I ask the supervisor if I can go home. He reluctantly lets me leave but gives me a hard time for going home because "now they have to find a replacement for me." I end up having to do this routine for a few more shifts. Each time I asked to go home the supervisor would ask if I could "just tough it out and stay a little longer."

For the most part before all of this I was a decent employee. I had worked for them for a few years by this point and rarely got into trouble. I was good at my job and didn't cause problems. I was one of those workers that came in, did my job, then went home. After these incidents occurred I left as soon as I could get a job elsewhere. I took a massive paycut and had to work as an Uber driver for a while to make up the difference. But still, I would rather work myself to death than stay somewhere where they just want a warm body to fill a spot.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,856
1,189
113
Two ways: its use is either denied or an employer refuses to pay it out when you separate from an organization. I’ve had both happen to me.
When I left my first FT job (well, went from FT to per diem), I lost all of my sick time (or maybe it was all of my vacation, I don't remember which one), and was paid out at a 4:1 ratio for my remaining PTO (so for every 4 hours I had, they paid me 1 hour of my salary). And once you gave your two weeks notice, you could not longer use any vacation or sick time.

At my second FT EMS job, we were routinely denied vacation time due to lack of staffing. meaning, if there wasn't a per diem employee who was willing and able to work for you, your vacation request was denied. OT to cover vacation time was not permitted. The exception to this was if it was a guaranteed vacation time, where in January, everyone picked a week for GVAC time, and once everyone had a week, they could pick a second week. If you made a vacation request during this time, it could not be denied. It got so bad (due to lack of part time staff and lack of part time staff who wanted to work night shift), that people stopped putting in vacation requests (which they knew would get denied due to lack of staffing, and if they wanted a day or two off, they would just call out sick (only 3 consecutive days off required a doctor's note).

And both were decent large employers, who had a waiting list of people trying to get in. Many other agencies were much worse in their treatment of any paid time off.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
Community Leader
6,873
1,975
113
Our shift commander and/or lieutenant can send us home if they think it's appropriate. We have no criteria for it. If you are low on sick time they don't care, they just want you to go home. It doesn't even come out as a loan.
 
Top