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Creating an Effective Sick Leave Policy: A Short Guide

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Beekeeper's sick leave policy guide

As employers globally implement their return-to-work guidelines, many are reviewing and revamping their sick leave policies. The pandemic made it clear to companies that communicating sick time rules is both crucial to public health and protecting workers. 

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Before the pandemic, only 20% of private sector workers and 8% of low wage workers had paid family leave as a job benefit.

Without a sick leave policy in place — not to mention communicating it effectively to employees — many would likely go to work sick to avoid missing hourly wages or losing their jobs altogether. Such consequences and fears could worsen their condition. This spreads sickness and decreases productivity.

Sick Leave Policy Challenges for Employers 

Beekeeper's guide to sick leave policy challenges

While the 2020 Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights expired at the end of the year, new legislation is giving employers an incentive to offer paid sick leave. Even so, sick leave regulations across the country vary from state to state. Employers are navigating compliance challenges in addition to new considerations, including: 

  • Tracking. Many organizations are still keeping track of sick leave information using a vacation and sick time tracking spreadsheet in Excel. But a manual tracking system is prone to error and inconsistency.
  • Sick Leave Pay. Sick employees can delay work and miss deadlings. Creating a policy that supports employee health while maintaining optimal productivity can be a challenge.
  • Emergencies. Crisis communication plans are essential to every company or organization. Despite that, employers often struggle to find the right tools for communicating their sick leave policy changes when faced with an emergency situation.

How can organizations use their sick leave policies to stay compliant, minimize operational disruption and take care of their workforce? Here are some ideas. 

3 Tips for Managing Paid Sick Leave 

  1. Get Familiar With The Law. 

Paid sick leave laws change constantly. What’s more, the requirements for sick leave typically vary based on the size of the company and its location. 

  1. Automate Your Processes 

Automating your processes — tracking staff sick days for example — reduces the risk of mistakes. It also frees up HR departments to concentrate on more complex tasks.

  1. Let Workers Donate Unused Sick Time 

It’s a morale booster. It’s also the right thing to do. allow employees to donate unused sick leave to coworkers who need it.

Sample Sick Leave Policy

Need to create a new sick leave policy or update your old one? Here is a starting point. You can tailor it to your needs. 


  • Full-time employees accrue sick leave from their date of hire for [days allowed in sick leave]. Part-time employees are allowed  [days in sick leave]. 
  • The maximum amount of time that employees can accrue on sick leave is [hours]. 

Employees Can Use Sick Leave:

  • To care for their physical or mental illness, or a medical condition. 
  • To care for a spouse, child or relative with an illness or medical condition.  
  • To attend routine medical appointments. 
  • To take their dependents to medical appointments. 

Sick Leave Rules For Employees: 

  • Notify a supervisor as soon as possible. 
  • Provide documentation from a physician’s office explaining their absence when sick for [number of days] or more. 

Pro tip: Don’t let onboarding be the only time employees come in contact with your sick leave policy. Make it part of your internal communication plan so it stays top of mind and accessible.

Communicating Your Sick Leave Policy

Companies that are transparent about their sick leave policy empower workers to make smart decisions about their health. This way, employees understand the process and compensation if sick time is needed. 

One of the best ways to communicate a sick leave policy is through a mobile communication app like Beekeeper. With Beekeeper, employers can:

  • Update employees on any policy changes in real time.
  • Create Streams and plan content around sick leave information. 
  • Use the Survey feature to get employee feedback.
  • Track which employees have received and read updates.

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