As the stomach bug and the flu continue to ravage the Southcoast, employers and employees have a big problem...workers who don't want to call in sick.

I admit it.  I'm the worst of them all.  Not only do I get paranoid when sick people are around me, but I'm also the person who tries to "stick it out" when I'm not feeling well.  It seem to me that more and more people are going to work sick.  I get it.  I HATE to call in sick.  The very few times that I've done it...I always felt like I was letting my both my boss and co-workers down.  My parents both have a VERY strong work ethic.  When I was going to school there were no questionable sick days.  Sure, I'd stay home if I was sick, but it wasn't because of a little cold or a headache.

At one point in my career, I had strung together a 15-year run without calling in sick.  Not once.  Then we had kids, they went to school, and brought home every imaginable bug known to mankind.  Since then, I have been forced to take some sick days when I caught the flu about 7-8 years ago....and then again last year.

It used to be that employers would offer sick days and vacation days.  Now, many companies are implementing "Paid Time Off" policies instead.  They can be used when you're sick, when you have doctors appointments, or when you want to go on vacation.  For me personally, I LOVED the change to PTO.  It was like gaining an extra week of vacation.

The one drawback to PTO is that now people are hesitant to take sick days.  Think about it...would you rather spend your days off:  a) huddled under a blanket throwing up into a bucket....or b) sunning yourself at Cherry and Webb?  Yeah, me too.  And that's why people are so reluctant to call in sick.

Luckily, Massachusetts law requires employers to offer part-time workers sick leave...which can cut down on sick people in the workplace.

True confessions, though.  I'm one of the worst offenders.  I need to be deathly ill to call into work.  The next time I sound sick on the air...I'm giving you full permission to call me out on it.