Federal employees may at times face the temptation to call in sick so they can have an unscheduled day off. Abuse of sick leave in the federal workplace is a serious issue that all federal employees should try to avoid.
Sick leave abuse laws exist which can carry significant penalties for those who misuse their sick leave. There are also a few ways that supervisors can spot and investigate sick leave abuse by federal employees.
If your supervisor has accused you of being a federal employee who’s committed sick leave abuse, contact a federal employee sick leave abuse lawyer right away.
When Is It Okay to Use Sick Leave?
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), a federal agency that regulates the employment policies of most other federal agencies, states that federal employees may use sick leave when they need to:
- Attend to their own personal medical needs;
- Care for a family member with a serious health condition;
- Attend a funeral for a family member; or
- Carry out adoption-related activities.
OPM does not define what constitutes an abuse of sick leave. That said, it’s reasonable to assume that any use of sick leave for reasons other than those listed above could constitute “sick leave abuse,” especially if done repeatedly and within a short period of time.
Common signs of sick leave abuse are:
- Taking sick leave on a regular, periodic basis (like every other Friday);
- Taking excessive amounts of sick leave; and
- Providing little or no evidence supporting their alleged reason for taking sick leave.
If an agency discovers that an employee is committing OPM sick leave abuse, the employee can face discipline. An employee can even face removal from federal service.
What Employers Can Do About Sick Leave Abuse
While OPM does not define sick leave abuse, it does establish procedures for employers to require evidence from employees who request sick leave. Specifically, an agency may require “administratively acceptable evidence” before granting sick leave.
The definition of “administratively acceptable evidence.” For example, if an employee requests sick leave to care for a family member, the agency may require that the employee provide proof of their relationship with the family member. If an employee claims sick leave to visit a doctor, the agency can request a doctor’s note that confirms the visit.
Do You Need a Federal Sick Leave Abuse Attorney?
Accusations of sick leave abuse are no joke. If you have been accused of abusing sick leave, you could be counseled, reprimanded, suspended, or even removed from your job. So if your supervisor has accused you of sick leave abuse, you need to contact a sick leave abuse attorney immediately.
When looking for an attorney that can help you defend your rights, it’s absolutely essential that you select someone who has familiarity with your situation and the federal workplace.
At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC., we concentrate on representing federal employees and protecting their rights. Our firm has the experience needed to help federal employees who have been accused of misconduct. Even if you aren’t sure whether you need an attorney, it takes no time at all to contact us. All initial consultations are free, so don’t take any chances with your career. Contact us today.