Calling in sick.

255
11
Joined Jan 18, 2006
Ok, so I guess I've got the flu or a cold or something. I've never called in sick in my culinary career yet (all year and a half of it), but I know that as soon as I get there I'll probably just throw up and leave anyway. I work banquets and there's only a couple tastings and a couple parties of 40 plus the cafeteria and lunch buffet during my shift. 1 person can do it but two will be there...on of which had the day scheduled off but he's coming in to pick up hours. I figure it's better so now they don't have to spend extra money from the labor budget for him to come in. I called security at the hotel and left them a message. If you were my banquet chef...would rather me come in and work as much as I can?...or would you rather I stay home and get well to work brunch. I have friday and saturday off...so I don't want it to seem like I'm just calling in to have three days in a row off. I just figure that if I'm coming and dry heaving all day...it's better to not risk contamination of the food.
 
222
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Joined Nov 3, 2006
I would want you to stay at home and get better. Going to work and spreading germs is not a good thing...hope you feel better, I hate having the flu and or a cold.
 

nicko

Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
4,343
361
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Absolutely 100% no! I would never ever want you to come into work if you are that sick. This is my biggest gripe about the food industry that you have to work even if you are dying. When I was a cook I used to come in when I was sick no matter what my symptoms were (100+ fever, pale, sweating) and, I thought people were weak when they didn’t come in if they were sick. As I have gotten older I realize how foolish this was and I sometimes wonder how many poor people got the flu or a cold all because I wanted to be a hero.

I am no longer in the business and it is very interesting to me how my new line of work is completely opposite to the restaurant business. When I first started at my current job I came into work feeling lousy but wanted to make a good impression. I was promptly asked by my manager to go home and come back when I was feeling better. He told me he did not want anyone else getting sick and that it was not necessary for me to be there if I was feeling sick. I came to realize that it actually costs my company more money if I come in sick than if I stay home. The obvious reason for this is that if I come in sick I end up getting 3,4,5 or more people sick and if they take off work then the is more expensive than if only one person would of missed work.
 
255
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Joined Jul 23, 2004
I used to be hardcorp on this issue......
until december before last when a flu epidemic laid waste to the entire kitchen crew during the busiest month of the year.

Now, anyone with an active fever, vomiting, or a runny bottom gets sent home as soon as they hit the door.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
We are fortunate to have local doctor look at anyone who works there. We barter cakes. We would like you to see this pseron if you are sick. We have no problem, the only thing we require is that if your not feeling well before you go to bed you are to call us in case we need to make arrangements. The responce will usually be stay home tomorrow and see the doc.
 
67
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Joined Apr 12, 2005
My personal opinion is to ALWAYS show up for a shift - THEN ask the supervisor for permission to go home. No one is going to argue if you really are sick, and if they do, they shouldn't be running a restaurant. I feel that showing up is at least as good as actually working the shift, most sick employees are not going to be strong anyway, and this way there is no debate as to whether or not it is self-inflicted or if you just have a hot date for the night. For most of us, that goes without saying - but I never want to be the guy that everyone is pissed at because he calls in sick every week. I'd rather let them SEE how miserable I am first.

Erik.
 
915
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Joined May 23, 2006
If a sick employee shows up, they spread their germs to the well employees and risk them getting sick. Not only that, but if they're only showing up to prove they're sick, then the benefit is not worth the cost. Rather know way ahead of time that the person may not be in so that there is time to come up with a contingency plan.

If your employee is calling in sick every week and isn't really sick, then the job is not a good match for him. He's calling in sick because he doesn't want to work for you (or maybe for anybody). Either way, you should trust your employees to make the assessment otherwise you shouldn't have them as employees and rather hire people you can trust.

Especially in the food service industry, this can be a problem. On the one hand, you need your employees to show up on time and able to do the job but on the other hand, you need to be careful about health issues. Where I used to work, sick employees were not allowed. There was always a backup plan.

Would you want an employee with Hep A to show up for work?
 
928
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Joined Mar 16, 2005
And that's how the Spanish Influenza killed millions of people, macho men going to work when they were clearly sick :).
 
255
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Joined Jan 18, 2006
Yeah so I didn't go to work. It takes me 20 minutes to drive to work...and as weak as I feel...who knows that I wouldn't rear end somebody or fall asleep or something. I feel like I'm dying.
 
67
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Joined Apr 12, 2005
In the five minutes that it takes to ask for the day off in person, the amount of contamination possible is not great. I wouldn't let a really ill person work, would you? Of course, it depends on the situation - If i was bed ridden, I might call in. Calling ahead only helps if there IS a contingency - I work on a three person line, with only three employees. One of use goes down, we have nothing to fall back on. That's fine, if youre sick go home, we'll manage, we aren't children.

In any other circumstance, I'm showing up and asking the chef for the day off in person. It's my shift, I'm showing up or covering it, or the chef is giving me permission to go home - perhaps I have an old-school kind of attitude about this, but I am not taking anything without permission - a phone call assumes that I even CAN take the day off, while showing up at least shows that I will work if I have to. It is a job afterall, not a go-when-I-feel-like-it fun time. The telephone just seems lazy and presumptuous to me. Edit: If the chef told me to just call in next time, I'm just calling in next time. It's his show, business as usual until told otherwise.

e
 
915
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Joined May 23, 2006
Making a sick person drag himself in to show his face increases the length of time necessary for him to recover. Unhealthy employees are not productive employees.
 
5,192
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
I think the reason sick calls are a non issue with us is that we have an agreement with all personel. Being sick is a reason for missing work. If it is an excuse then it falls under a different umbrella.
Every employee can request time off if they are burned out, need a day or so to themselves, or whatever reason. It's ok, as long as we have notice.
pan
 
1
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Joined Jan 31, 2007
My opinion only, and I've been in this business for over 30 years, is any Chef worth his salt will let his staff know up front what is expected of them and being sick is covered. I know my people and they know that. If you are sick let me know as soon as you know and I will cover you. I don't want you in my kitchen if you are sick, period. People don't get sick one hour before there shift, I have a 3 hour rule but if you are contagious usely you will know the day before. I'm old school too, and can count the days off for being sick on one hand, but I've worked for Chef's that if you were breathing you had better be there. Thanks guys for letting me into your club.

ChefDawg
 
7,375
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
Years ago we had a sick thread or "injured working" that would make most sane people crazed. It was pretty popular for months........
If you are sick I don't want your germs, along with Panini.....it's all in the timing.
Thanksgiving my nephew gave his entire extended family a rough verison of upper respritory flu......including his aunt and grandparents....took me through Dec. to get rid of it. AAAAARGH. His mother just doesn't understand that it's NOT OK to tough it out if others are non-consenting recipients of disease/plague. Hope she got the message, finally.
 
49
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Joined Dec 22, 2006
Rule of thumb is to never come to any work place when you are sick. One brave (and less productive) employee doesn't make up for the 5 employees that stay home because you get THEM sick!
 
564
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Joined Feb 4, 2006
They claimed they never got any of the 5 messages I left.

Still better than making people ill.

April
 
64
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Joined Mar 7, 2006
I had my sous out sick on Monday and Tuesday of the week. She said her kid got her sick.. Which is fine cause I know how families with kids can be. One gets sick they all do. However I had 2 prep cooks and a server/cashier call in on Tuesday. I can't believe its 6pm on Friday and I'm home.


Oh... I did one thing, I emailed her the produce price list and had her update the inventory prices.
:beer:
 

lrf

3
10
Joined Aug 18, 2005
seems like all of you have forgotten the simple rule you learned for your Health Dept. card ... don't go to work if you are sick. No exceptions.
If you have a broken leg, by all means, come to work, that isn't contagious!
But if you are hacking, sneezing, weepy eyes, sore throat, etc etc or have a big ugly rash .... STAY HOME.
 
182
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Joined Dec 6, 2006
No we remember trouble is the restaurant owners usually don't care what health regulations say they want you at work. Since kitchens and by extension restaurants have to operate as efficiently as possible there is generally just enough staff scheduled to cover. If you lose a person or two it hurts everybody. I wish it wasn't that way because if someone has the flu or something airborne or the slightest bit contagious I don't want them in my kitchen. I'd rather work harder and longer than get sick or worse have a customer get sick.
 
425
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Joined Sep 5, 2006
There are several illnesses that are BAD this year- hitting workplaces and schools hard. Have a friend who said one of his kid's class had all but 5 kids out ill one day last week. My teens have each been down a week, my 2 young kids were sick through the weekend, I made my husband stay home today, he is so sick. I'm doing ok- at work and feel fine, taking "Airbourne", but so afraid my turn may be coming..... (like I have TIME to be sick..???!!) LOL
 

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