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Should an employee use his own sick leave if sickened at a corporate event?

Roland Allred's Profile

We had an employee sickened from likely food poisoning at a local restaurant celebrating a company milestone. None of the other 6 employees attending, which included corporate officers, got sick. The likely culprit was scallops as none of the other employees ordered this. The county health department was concerned enough to plan an unannounced inspection of the restaurant. The dinner was paid by the company. The company offers sick leave. My question is whether the employee should use his sick leave for the one day that he was home recovering. Our HR manual does not address this type of situation.

Answers

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

If he was sick and eligible for the benefit....YES! I do NOT see the complication of whether it was company (event) related or not. Not to mention that you are even aware of the probable cause of his sickness.

HR manuals do NOT have to address every imaginable situation that can occur.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

In fact HR manuals shouldn't address every situation, not only couldn't it, but what happens when compound situations occur, sometimes less is best.

Roland Allred
Title: Controller
Company: Enpower Corp.
(Controller, Enpower Corp.) |

You are right that we really don't know what caused his food poisoning. He could have picked up bacteria anywhere.
The employee is of the opinion that he got sick at the corp event and should not have to use his limited sick leave. Rather he thinks the company should pay his regular salary for the day.

Anonymous
(Director of Finance) |

I don't even think that the eligibility was an issue. I think that, even though this may open a can of worms, that it would be a goodwill gesture by the company. If there is any thought that this happened at the corporate event, then the company should make a good will gesture of paying it without deducting from sick pay. The cost of one day's salary won't bankrupt the company or jeopardize the corporate finances, but goes a long way toward showing the importance of the employees to the company, as well as cut down on any poor morale generated.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Agreed!! And I venture to suggest the risk of opening a can of worms is low. If the employee is actually a worm, his behavior will manifest itself in other ways anyway.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

A company offering such a good will gesture will be effectively admitting guilt in the lawsuit that will shortly be filed by "the worm". Or, at least that's what the plaintiff's attorney will be saying.

WC claim, coming up. :-(

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

This is an HR issue, not an accounting issue. It depends on the state laws your company is under and other policies. If this was a required event or could be viewed as required then it likely qualifies. Regardless, it's easier just to pay an employee during the short-term than it is to open a worker's comp claim, and given the low odds of something like that happening it shouldn't be an issue to just keep them on payroll.

Anonymous
(CFO) |

Yes.

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