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    Default Firefighter Says He Called In Sick, Then Got Fired

    What do you think?


    MyFox National
    http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/myfox/pa...Y&pageId=3.3.1

    DETROIT -- If you called in sick, would you like it if your boss came to your house (Video: MyFoxDetroit) to check and see if you were really ill?
    A Detroit-area firefighter said it happened to him. And then, he said when he complained about it, he lost his job.

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    What I think is there is probably a lot more to this than we know.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    hmmmm, the reporter says he filed a police report because the chief went to make sure he is sick. As the mayor said, it's not uncommon to verify that a person is really sick when they call out sick. The reporter also says there were other things in his "perfect record" and the mayor did say what some of the accusations were.

    Who knows, it will probably end up resolved in the courts.
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    As far as I knew, in most union environments, a sick day is a sick day. You get "x" amount in your contract, and there is only a moral limitation to the use of them. Who doesn't abuse the sick day once in a while?

    I have never seen a FD that requires a note from mom for sick days within the allowance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell View Post
    As far as I knew, in most union environments, a sick day is a sick day. You get "x" amount in your contract, and there is only a moral limitation to the use of them. Who doesn't abuse the sick day once in a while?

    I have never seen a FD that requires a note from mom for sick days within the allowance.
    I believe some require a doctor's note if you take more than X-days in a row. Other then that you should be able to use them when you deem it necessary.

    As for the article, I'm sure there's more to this then what is mentioned by the reporter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell View Post
    As far as I knew, in most union environments, a sick day is a sick day. You get "x" amount in your contract, and there is only a moral limitation to the use of them. Who doesn't abuse the sick day once in a while?
    Who doesn't abuse sick days? The majority of employees (those who don't believe it is OK to fradulently steal from one's employer).

    If you hate your job so much you'll act like a 2nd grader to avoid work, find a new job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Who doesn't abuse sick days? The majority of employees (those who don't believe it is OK to fradulently steal from one's employer).

    If you hate your job so much you'll act like a 2nd grader to avoid work, find a new job.

    Well I can honestly say I can count the sick days I have taken in my career on one hand. But I am not union, and receive no sick day compensation. Many of my extended family have been however, and between them and the rest of the union members I know, I don't know very many who do not consider sick days as part of the compensation package. And the fact that many employers buy them back if not used gives them a cash value to the employee, not the employer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcaldwell View Post
    Well I can honestly say I can count the sick days I have taken in my career on one hand. But I am not union, and receive no sick day compensation. Many of my extended family have been however, and between them and the rest of the union members I know, I don't know very many who do not consider sick days as part of the compensation package. And the fact that many employers buy them back if not used gives them a cash value to the employee, not the employer.
    I'm interested in how some of the career guys on this board think about sick days. I mean, if I call in sick, my work just waits for me to get back. But if a career firefighter calls in sick, doesn't that mean some poor schmo just got slapped with 24 hours of unplanned mandatory overtime?

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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc View Post
    I'm interested in how some of the career guys on this board think about sick days. I mean, if I call in sick, my work just waits for me to get back. But if a career firefighter calls in sick, doesn't that mean some poor schmo just got slapped with 24 hours of unplanned mandatory overtime?
    This is how it works on our (career) department: Full-time personnel are given the option to work overtime. If no full-time people are available, the company officer will attempt to hire a part-time employee for the day. If neither full or part-time personnel are available, there are a couple options. If it is a single (Quint) house, there are normally four people on the apparatus, and they will just ride with three. If the house has an Engine, Quint, and Rescue (which is a quick response SUV for EMS calls), the company officer may make the decision to shut the rescue down and place those people on the fire apparatus, until someone can come in to cover the sick person.

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    In our career, non-recognize union fire department if a firefighter calls in sick someone will cover his spot. Everyone is asked and if no one takes it, the least senior firefighter on duty is forced to stay over.

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    My department allows 1 person to be off sick without calling someone back. This is in addition to the scheduled vacation or kelly days of six other personnel. If another ff calls in sick then a callback is required. First personnel are asked to work and then if no one says yes to overtime (which rarely happens) someone is forced back.

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    My department will hire someone on OT to cover the call-in. If no one takes it, we have a "force list." Once you've been forced, you move to the top of the list and wait until it comes back to your turn before you're forced again. Each rank (FF, Engineer, Captain) have a seperate list.

    We are allotted 12 sick days (24 hrs) per year and can have 6 "occurances) per year. If an occurance lasts more than two shifts, we have to have a note from the doc. For the most part, no one abuses it. But to deter abuse, the city has a "buy back" program, where if during a six month period (Jan. 1-June 30, July 1-Dec. 31) you don't call in sick, you can buy back a sick day for pay or to use as another vacation day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Who doesn't abuse sick days? The majority of employees (those who don't believe it is OK to fradulently steal from one's employer).

    If you hate your job so much you'll act like a 2nd grader to avoid work, find a new job.
    I have to use 5 sick days a year. The maximum we are allowed to accumulate is 150, and after sick leave buyback, I have 140. I earn 15 sick days per year (1.25 per month), so if I don't use them, I lose them.

    Sick days can also taken if you have to care for a sick or injured family member.

    My FD can require a doctor's note at the Chief's discretion after using 3 consecutive days.

    We only hire back if we drop below minimum staffing (13 firefighters and 3 officers... Deputies aren't included in the minimum staffing count).


    I do think there is "more to the story" than the OP inplied.
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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    (those who don't believe it is OK to fradulently steal from one's employer).

    .
    I wouldn't call it stealing or fraud. I worked enough days consecutively to earn those sick days off. I personally don't use my sick days as days off because with my luck I'll burn them up and then really need them and they won't be there.
    We do have a few around here who continually abuse the sick day policy, but we have a whole bunch more who are willing to work the OT.
    IAFF

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    Unless your employeer gives you X-number of personal days that can be used for vacation or sick leave at the employee's discreation, using sick leave for reasons outside of their given purpose in the text of your contract is fraud. The purpose of most sick leave is to keep an employee from being a liability on the job, working as a weak employee can hurt themself or infect others; now thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Acts it can be used to care for a family member. It is not supposed to be used as additional or flexable vacation days unless your supervisor orders you to take some mental R&R. Just because your employeer is willing to buy back unused time does not make it ok to use for anything other than the contract prescribed purpose. I have heard the mirror cases too, where someone with a perfect attendance record complained about being forced to use their sick leave when they were walking around hacking up lungs infecting their co-workers and others. Sick leave is there for a purpose, and those that abuse it or refuse to use it make life tougher for everyone they work with. I would bet that there is much more to the story than this one side, and I bet the guy has shoot his appeals chance in the foot by going to the media.
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    Our dept. grants 1 sick day per month worked. If you do not use any sick leave for 4 months you get a free 18 hrs. of pay, use 1 sick period and you get 9 hrs pay. Any more than that used you get no "bonus". We still keep the sick days and when you have a total of 3128 hrs. of accrues sick time all above gets put into a sick leave pool for anyone in the FD to use if they run out of sick time. On the flip side, if we miss two or more shifts in row, we must provide a Dr's note that we're fit for duty.

    I too believe that taking sick leave as a way of getting the day off is B.S. Here it causes the crew to run short (down to min. manning) or causes last minute OT often resulting in the member at the top of the OT list to be "forced" to work. If we could use these free of charge a proby would have 6 weeks vacation in the first year! A given that if you're sick later on in your career it is unlikely you'll be let go if you're out of sickleave, in fact you take from the pool that those of us who respect the system and the job contribute to. At this time a couple of us actually are maxed out and contribute to the pool. Hell we had one firefighter schedule elective surgery and use sick leave pool time because she didn't have enough of her own. On top of that this FF took vacation one month prior so they could enjoy some time off before the surgery! Some F***ing people!!!

    Unfortunately for some of us the "other than emergency" duties still stack up on days off anyway so no day is truly free. Sorry, rant over.

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    We accumulate depending on your time of service. The longer you are on the more you earn. Starts out at 12 hours a month, tops out at 36 hours a month.

    We never lose accumulated sick time. Most guys retire with several thousand hours of sick leave. At retirement you can only be paid for 1800 unused hours at your regular rate of pay.

    Sick hours can not be shared.

    If someone calls in sick, people are not held hostage for the entire next shift. Someone will have to hold until relieved. Overtime is called in rank for rank. They can accept or decline. We have nearly 2000 firefighters - someone is gonna take it. It can get a little more complicated, but that is general enough for this discussion.

    24 hour employees who are not off sick for 3 consecutive months earn a bonus day. Bonus days can be taken when there are extra personnel at work (never) or sold back to the city at your rate of pay the day you sell it. There is no maximum that you can accumulate, but you can only sell 4 per year until retirement - only time you can cash out. The key is to hold on to them as long as possible. Earn a bonus day as a private making 350 dollars a day, hold it and sell it as a Lieutenant for $475, for example.

    Two consecutive work days off requires a docotrs release. Abuse of the sick leave policy can result in doctor releases being required for single day occurences.

    Crashed my motorcycle in 2003. Had 8-9 years on at the time. Satyed off sick for 3 months. Never missed a penny. Still had over 1000 sick hours when I went back.
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    I think someone hit on the head as a "moral limitation" to use a "slick" day. In my dept, be bid vacation leave a year ahead of time. I guess its not a big deal for planning big vacations, but when things come up at the last minute, it is on the verge of impossible to get approved day to day leave. I have tried putting in for days off just to get one for a break. I have never had day to day leave approved. That being the case, I can only use my 6 shifts of annual leave throughout the year. We are allowed to swap off with people, but paying those swaps back always seems to come back on inoportune days. The unwritten rule is that if someone asks you to pay the swap back, you have to do it when they want it, not when its convieninet for you. See "moral limitation".

    We definitely have people who abuse sick leave. In the end they only hurt themselves. When they get hurt or sick off duty and have to be off for an extended period of time, they are the ones who run out of leave.

    I have used one slick day in the past, and I would be lying if I said I wouldnt do it again, but I do feel guilty when I do it. Not so much guilt towards the higher administration, but that means one guy has to hold over until they detail someone in or find someone to work the overtime (which isnt hard at all).

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    I too think there is likely something more to this story than we got from the report. I also saw a mayor that was totally full of bulls*&^ trying to cover for the chief. I don't believe for a second that it's common to check up on those who call in sick. Guess the moral of the story is, if you're going to call in sick you might as well head fishing at first light so that you're not there when the rats come to check on you. Then say you were at the doc or the pharmacy (j/k TIC - I don't get sick leave or paid floating days off - I'm self employed)

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    I watched part of the video yesterday evening, until it crapped out on me. There was mention of an EMS (I think) incident in April that he was allegedly "overly aggressive" on (I can't recall the exact words used in the video - but it was something along those lines), and that incident is cited as the reason he was fired. The video appeared to show a copy of the some of the related documents.
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    Oh yeah, and up here, taking a sick day when you're not really sick is generally known as "taking a mental health day", whether you get paid sick leave or not.

    DISCLAIMER: Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, remember, I'm NOT a part of the fire service, and my experiences are from private industry mostly, and the BC Public Service in the past year. Each company's policy varies, but generally, if you're a full-time employee with benefits, they will include a certain number of sick days per month and per year that you can take. You can also take a vacation day when you are sick or need a day off for other reasons. I'm just going by what my friends do and tell me as I'm Auxiliary, not perm, so I don't know the exact rules and regulations but that's my understanding of how it works.

    Being short-handed in my world doesn't have the same impact as being short-handed in YOUR world
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    There has to be more to this then they are telling us. If any of our guys were terminated of employment for using a sick day, the union would have a field day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firemed9 View Post
    There has to be more to this then they are telling us. If any of our guys were terminated of employment for using a sick day, the union would have a field day.
    That is the big flag for me. The union is apparently silent on the issue, so this kid must be in much deeper than he will admit.
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    That is the big flag for me. The union is apparently silent on the issue, so this kid must be in much deeper than he will admit.
    The video plainly stated that the union was filing a grievance. The union president was also interviewed in the video and stated his opinion that it was not right.

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    Wow. I'm a little surprised at some of the answers here.


    Someone mentioned the morality and hit the nail on the head. Most departments in my area lose the vast majority of their sick leave if they don't use it. I guess when there's no financial incentive to not abuse sick time it's left up to integrity. Guess integrity's not always good enough.

    One of the things I have little tolerance for is dishonesty. If an employee takes a sick day without being sick, they are lying to me and stealing from the taxpayers that pay their salary.

    If a FF makes $500 in a 24 hour shift, then it will take approximately an additional $750 in OT if needed to fill the spot. I see no difference in that and walking outside into the bay and picking out a $1250 piece of equipment and taking it home.

    And we wonder why some departments are checking on their employers when they're paying them to be at home.

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