Given the economic meltdown, the highest unemployment rate in years, and layoffs around every corner, workers are more likely to drag themselves into the office even when they really are sick with a fever or the flu. While most companies encourage sick employees to stay home, there is one government entity that hardly ever allows their members a sick day off without serious assessment. The military.
Last month, a Navy submarine worker, Casey James Fury, 24, set fire aboard the USS Miami in order to get out of work early. Faced with life in prison if convicted of two counts of arson in the fire aboard the USS Miami attack submarine, many wonder if his desperate attempt to get out of work may be warranted by the military’s impossible “sick day” policies. In the Slate article, “Sir, Do I Really Have To Work Today, Sir?” soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines explain the various hoops they must jump through to get a day off due to illness.
“In most branches of the military, a service member who wakes up under the weather is expected to, well, suck it up. In extreme cases, though, he or she can inform the commanding officer of an ailing condition when reporting to first formation—a daily physical-training session at 6 or 6:30 a.m. that might include four-mile runs, push-ups, and sit-ups. It’s up to the commanding officer to decide whether to force the sick person to participate in the dawn routine or allow him or her to kill time with some stretching until sick call begins. Sick call, “a daily lineup of military personnel requiring medical attention,” takes place at the aid clinic, or infirmary. Enlisted medics assess the gathered troops, treat minor complaints, and issue further recommendations. An ailing service member might be assigned to “indoor” or “light” duty, which would exempt him from physical training and perhaps have him cleaning the barracks.”
In Casey James Fury’s case, setting fire aboard the submarine was simply an act of anxiety and desperation as civilian workers typically have the same leave policy as most workplaces do. The general procedures described above typically apply to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, both in training stateside and in combat overseas, according to the article. What’s more? If any service member tries to fake illness or is perceived to exploit his unit’s leave policies (most branches cap sick leave at 13 workdays per year), he faces charges of malingering, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for one to three years. Read More…