Calling in Sick on Declined Holiday – Not as Clever as You Think

Holidays and sickness are two words that are the bane of a manager’s life. It can be a logistical nightmare ensuring everyone gets their holiday entitlement. If you’re thinking of calling in sick on a declined holiday be aware your manger won’t be convinced.

Or, if you’re a manager and feeling suspicious, then your instincts are probably not far off the mark!

Our guide looks at common scenarios, and what might happen if you call in sick on a declined holiday. If you still think skiving is a great idea afterwards, don’t say you haven’t been warned!


Declined Holiday Requests

Sometimes holiday requests may be declined, which can be disappointing, but most staff will know the protocols.

There may be some instances where staff decide to take the holiday anyway and call in sick. Or, an employee is struck down with illness during the period of their declined holiday due to bad luck.

Pulling a sickie isn’t uncommon in the workplace. It can look even more suspicious if it is during a declined holiday. Another common event which will arouse suspicion is when staff call in sick before or after a holiday.


Common Scenarios

A great deal of office stress is caused by staffing issues. That means when a someone phones in sick it can cause grief for all concerned. We’ve compiled some common scenarios where workers call in sick on a declined holiday.

If they sound familiar, then you (or your staff!) aren’t as sneaky as you imagine!


Social Media Holds No Secrets

So, you’ve called in sick. The office is down a member of staff down on the day or week you requested off and had declined. Let’s be honest, it looks a little fishy even to the most trusting of employers.

So what happens when colleagues log in to Facebook or Insta at lunchtime and see holiday pics when you were supposed to be off sick? Not good is it, social media can be great at times but it can cause a lot of drama too.

If you’ve decided to pull a sickie to enjoy a holiday or day out, or extend your already booked trip, then keep it off the internet.


I’ll Just Call In Sick Anyway

You’ve had your holiday turned down and most likely have been noticeably unhappy afterwards.

You’ve perhaps confessed to a trusty colleague that you will call in sick on the day anyway. After all, you have plans and don’t wish to cancel them.

You can trust your colleague, she won’t say anything. But what about Tina, the office Miss Perfect who overheard your conversation? Rumours are common in the workplace. Your co-workers may get hacked off at you pulling a sickie and leaving the rest to pick up the slack.


Calling In Sick The Day Before A Holiday

All is good – an employee requested some annual leave and this was accepted. But they end up calling in sick before a holiday, leaving unfinished work for someone else to take care of.

Let’s be honest, this will always look a little suspicious. Even more so if the person manages to go on holiday as planned. Most people will know the staff member has called in sick the day before holiday to take a longer break.


Calling in Sick The Day After A Holiday

You are expecting your employee back to work fully refreshed after their holiday. But instead wake up to a text from them calling in sick after holiday.

Some popular excuses might be jet lag, food poisoning, or heat stroke. Whatever the reason it often leaves your colleagues in a bit of a mess.

This is especially the case if another member of staff has taken time off to tally with your return. If you decide to call in sick the day after your holiday, get ready for some serious shade when you return from the sun.


What Happens if You Call in Sick on a Declined Leave Day?

It can be a risky business calling in sick on a declined leave day. Despite this, it does happen rather a lot. Sometimes the reason might be genuine, other times not so much. Often the truth has a way of coming out.

Disciplinary Procedures

Should your boss suspect you are not genuinely ill then you may find yourself involved in disciplinary procedures.

It is a tricky one for employers as they will need to have some evidence that you weren’t sick. If the office rumour mill has been running overtime then an employer can ask you if you were genuinely ill.

  • An employer might ask for a face to face meeting with you. Often they will want to ask you straight out while looking you in the eye.
  • Should rumours be circulating and staff are not impressed then your boss may ask for more details about the day you had off. If you admit to pulling a sickie it might well go down as an unauthorised absence.
  • You can expect a phone call if you call in sick via text or answering phone. You will worsen the situation by avoiding the calls.
  • If the correct procedure hasn’t been followed for reporting your absence then you may well face further consequences and a warning.
  • Some employers will instigate a return to work meeting (RTW) to make the procedure formal. Be prepared to be asked questions on your illness and if you are ready to return. You will be reminded of the terms of your signed contract.
  • Your boss may keep a close eye on your absences moving forward and look for any familiar patterns. If these become frequent you will run the risk of a more serious discussion, possibly even be given notice.

Pay After Calling in Sick

How you are paid during a period of absence largely depends on your contract so it’s worth understanding your entitlements.

There’s also no guarantee you will be allowed to take a holiday day instead of sick leave if you’ve called in sick.

You do need to consider whether the unauthorised day off (which is often what it goes down as) is worth the aggro. If your employer feels that your reasons for illness are not genuine then they can also refuse to allow sick pay.


How Managers Can Help Avoid False Sick Days

Pulling the odd sickie maybe isn’t a big deal to every business. Lots of people have done it themselves at some point.

However, some companies will take it seriously, especially if it comes to light an employee was lying. You can help prevent employees from ringing in sick without genuine reasons on a declined holiday  by:

  1. Having it written in the contract of employment that holidays should not be booked until the request has been accepted. This will deter staff from booking a holiday without knowing they can get the time off.
  2. If the employer hears rumours of a suspected false sick day then try and have a face to face chat with the person before it happens. Often this will be enough to make the employee see that this isn’t in their best interests.
  3. Making sure all staff are clear on the procedures for requesting holidays and reporting illnesses and the consequences if these aren’t followed.

Genuine Illness During Declined Holiday

You may be reading this because you are one of the unfortunate few who has genuinely fallen ill. If you have had to call in sick on the same date as your declined holiday, you’ll understandably be concerned.

You might be worried about how it looks to everyone at work. You’ll also be wondering how you can ensure everyone knows you are genuinely ill. The best thing you can do is be upfront and let your manager know you are aware of how your absence looks.

Often it will come down to your boss’s personal judgement of your character and if this is unusual for you. Sometimes it is in an employer’s best interests not to pursue the odd single day as it is not worth the admin.

It becomes less easy to ignore if a pattern is emerging and your employer feels action is needed. As long as your attendance is good and there is no reason to suspect you are not being genuine then try not to stress. Just be sure you follow all the correct procedures for reporting absences and be contactable as and when required.


Calling in Sick on Declined Holiday – Is it Worth it?

Ultimately, only you can decide if it’s worthwhile phoning in sick after a rejected holiday. If you’re being dishonest, consider if you’d be happy to put up with the consequences. Losing pay, getting a disciplinary, and possibly getting offside with your colleagues.

If you are genuinely ill, and have a good absence record, your employer will hopefully be able to see you’re being honest.

Further Reading

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