AVM Survivors Network

Sick Days Policy - Is this legal?


Does anyone know if is it legal for an employer to change it's sick days policy and make it retroactive to the beginning of the year? A company changed it's policy TODAY from 12 days per year to four. Not only that, even if you are out for ONE day, you must have a doctor's note. In addition, even though this is April 20th, if you have already taken more than four days, they ill take your vacation days to cover any other sick days that you've taken! What if that poor employee had been hospitalized? Sounds very fishy to me!!! BTW, this company is located in New York, but is owned by a foreign government. If it's not a diplomatic service, that shouldn't make a difference right?


Hi Connie. The only thing I could find was this…
Try contacting Loiusa…
She used to be Human Resourses. She may have some suggestions.


Thank you, Barbara! Here's hoping there's a state mandate!


We had a similar case here in PA. and it was found to be illegal to make it retroactive.

To cover your but. You can go on FMLA -> Family Medical Leave Act. It's a federal Law that all employers must go by. I was on it for 3 years because of my condition. Your employer should have the paper work for your dr. to fill out. I still had to get drs. excuses if I missed work but, the good news is - your employer has to honor it and they are not allowed to penalise you for it. If they try - they are breaking a federal law. I never got any points for missing work as long as I had a dr.'s excuse.


Hi Connie...Unfortuantely the FMLA law does not mean that the employee has to be paid for sick time. It is meant to save your job when you are sick. I've sent you the NY State FMLA law, as some states are different....http://www.ehow.com/list_6088698_new-medical-leave-act-laws.html

Also unfortunately, I was not an International Human Resource Manager. What I do know is that any good USA company gave great benefits to their employees for the good of their employees, but it was not because it was a legal issue. If you look up how many legal benefits where given to foreign companies, the USA had the lowest number (12). The US companies just made up great benefits for the reason that they want't to support their employees.

Now that US companies are being sold to foreign companies, we all need to fight for better legal benefits.

Wish I could send you more peaceful information.....Louisa


Hi Connie,
I have been a paralegal for more than 10 years however, I haven't had too much experience in employment law. Different states have different laws concerning employment law. At the same time there are federal laws that govern as well... but that is not to say that states always follow federal law as they are required to do. It is not until someone brings an action against the employer that the state will start its investigation usually beginning with the Department of Labor. In some cases the action will also become a federal case for example, if the employer does not compensate for overtime. I am not an attorney and I cannot give any legal advice. Most attorneys who practice employment law do not charge for an initial consultation fee. You may want to consider calling a few attorneys and make an appointment with one who does not charge a fee. Write down your questions before your appointment. Look at this time with the attorney your chance to pick his or her brain! In addition, you may always contact your local Department of Labor. It is a state agency that is specifically trained to handle these types of situations. I hope this helps!



Just to clarify one point you made. On overtime compensation, it depends on what category labor an employee is if he HAS to be paid for overtime. IIRC, the category 'exempt' employee do not need to be paid overtime. 'Non-exempt' (which means falling under the labor law requirements) HAS to be paid overtime.

Hope this helps and I'm sure you knew that.



I should have clarified that. Thank you!


Louisa is right. In addition, not every employer and every employee is eligible for FMLA. In order for an employee to be eligible, they must work at least 1,250 hours per year and in order to be required to follow FMLA, the employer must have at least 50 paid employees who work within 75 miles of the location where the work takes place for at least 20 weeks out of the current year or the preceding year. You must have been employed by the empoluyer for at least a year prior to being eligible for FMLA Also, States often have their own policies that must follow FMLA, but can go above and beyond if they so wish. For example, in California, we have the California Family Rights Act which sometimes runs concurrently with FMLA, and other times takes over where FMLA leaves off.

Generally speaking, FMLA is for extended leaves, namely if you are going to be off of work for more than 5 consecutive working days, or if you require scheduled intermittent leave as prescribed by a physician. Again, FMLA does not ensure paid time off, it just ensures that you can take up to 12 weeks off from work and have a reasonably similar job when you return.

Always remember different things like Americans with Disabilities Act, which may not result in additional sick days, but may require your employer to make accomodations.


To add on to Jake's last sentence... an employer must make reasonable accomodations according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The problem remains.. what is reasonable? That has yet to be defined.


Thank you all for your input. What I'm deducing is that that this company isn't doing anything legally wrong...but I do believe they are most definitely ethically wrong. Makes a strong case for unions doesn't it?


My experience has been that companies have a much different view of their employee today than they did 20, 30, or 50 years ago. Back then, the company president was generally the guy who started the company, knew most or all the employees (at least in the beginning), knew the shop floor, if there was one, and knew the customers.

Living near Wichita, which had Beech, Cessna, Lear Jet, and Boeing, those companies were through many years run by PILOTS or Engineers. They were product guys. Making the product better, safer, faster, etc, was their mantra. Most of them knew it took highly motivated, highly skilled workers to get the job done.

Starting about the 80-90's, the leadership of companies started being Financial Wizards or Executive MBA people. They knew less about the product, and much more about the $$$$ side of the biz. The focus became more profit centered and the term "shareholder value" came into vogue.

Better financial tools helped these guys alot--I can tell you that one CEO (an engineer) of a the largest jet company was canned. As strange as it sounds, the company didn't know how much it was costing them to build each jet--and it turned out they were selling them for LESS than it cost them to build them. DUH?

But also around this time, employees who previously had been know as "family" were more frequently refered to as "team". Everyone knows you seldom kick a person out the family, but if you have a team member not performing, canning them is a no brainer. And if you have to layoff 10% every year or two, no big deal. You'll either hire them back or bring on new people. After all, a worker is a worker, right?

I saw this as a further move where employees were considered a commodity, such as steel, or flour or electricity. Need more, get more; have too much, get rid of it.

Add to that that in a world economy, if your burden labor rate (what it costs the company for your salary, pension, medical, training, etc) is $70/hr, and you can get labor somewhere else for $50/hr, the bean counters will move the work. They never consider tribal knowledge, etc--they assume a worker anywhere can do the same job. In my view, training, scrap and rework from outside labor is never factored into the cost, even though it is often HUGE.

I'm out of the corporate world now, and glad to be out. I just feel badly for my kids, who are in that workforce now...................

Sorry for ranting, but it's a hot button for me, and one I don't think any of us can fix.

Ron, KS