At the Nov. 14 Shenandoah County School Board meeting, the School Board was presented with a proposed revision to the sick leave policy, to be voted on at the next meeting.
The proposed revision states, in part: "The Employee's Supervisor or Principal may request a health care provider's note verifying the employee's illness. In any case, in which an illness causes absence from work in excess of three working days, the employee will be required to provide certification from a health care provider of the illness."
The first sentence would seem to allow supervisors or principals to request a doctor's note from the employee after just one day of sick leave. This is concerning on many levels. First, many people who are out sick for one day do not go to a doctor or other health care provider. Second, sometimes employees may need to use a sick day to improve their mental health throughout the year, which also does not require a trip to a doctor.
With health care costs high enough as it is, the wording of this policy may provoke employees into going to the doctor when it's unnecessary or intimidate them into going to school ill. There is also no specific criteria specified for requesting a doctor's note, which would be necessary to ensure that such a policy was applied consistently and fairly.
Employees are provided with a certain number of sick days each year, and they should have the right to use those as they see fit without having to worry that they will be questioned by their supervisor for using just one day.
Ryan Richmond, Edinburg