At Burnalong, we take wellness days vs sick days. Instead, we have wellness days that can be taken without any sort of rationale, excuse, or doctor’s note. Intrigued?
Daniel Freedman, our Co-CEO, shared in a recent NBC article, “But we have also taken another step: With our five annual wellness days, we encourage people to stay out long before they become ill, no questions asked. If they do decide to share what they did, we love hearing how the concert, bike ride or time with their kids helped them recharge and feel even better.”
Check out the full NBC article on wellness days and why they matter now. View our Co-CEO’s interview with Cheddar News below.
The shift to wellness days vs sick days, and removing the stigma attached to taking time off for physical or mental health reasons, is very intentional. Here is why it matters and how you can join the movement.
Why wellness days matter
There are currently no federal legal requirements and very few states with paid sick leave laws which have led to a wide range of policies. Some companies require up to 10 days’ advance notice in writing for paid sick leave or medical certificates or employee self-certification with disclosed personal details surrendered to HR within 15 days of their absence.
You might be reminded of your own company’s policies in reading this and realizing that perhaps there are too many questions asked or you might feel nervous indicating you are taking time off for mental health reasons. Not only that but the process can sometimes be convoluted and invasive.
Requests for time off can be submitted through an electronic system or via emails and forms that managers typically have to approve prior to sending to HR for an official record. There are multiple checkpoints for approval in many companies which means more people know private details about your health or mental state.
While specific disorders do not need to be legally specified in requests, many employees might feel uncomfortable deflecting questions from their manager and feel they must share more details to get approval. Plus, depending on how long the requested leave is for HR, healthcare providers, mental health care providers, supervisors, and in some cases, colleagues may be brought into the decision and plan for taking time off for physical or mental health reasons.
Stigma discourages preventative care
Complicated processes, plus the negative connotations for requesting time off, is a major deterrent. This has a snowball effect and means that more and more employees are putting off preventative care.
Preventative care, for physical and mental health, can reduce healthcare costs with early detection, improve outcomes, and in some cases like Type II diabetes prevent an illness altogether.
It is estimated that if 90% of adults received preventative care, it could save 100,000 lives each year. This is especially important for mental health as the WHO five of the ten leading causes for disability and premature death are due to psychiatric conditions.
Join the movement
Companies that have happy, healthy employees find that they are more productive, innovative, and resilient. With the Great Resignation upon us, it is even more vital that organizations create basic policies that support the employee, as a whole person.
While benefits and PTO are necessary, policies need to be in place that allow employees to take care of themselves long before they become sick or require long-term care or medication.
Take a glimpse into how far we (haven’t) come from ancient Egyptian work policies in the full article here. You can also view more information in one of our Co-CEO’s video interviews with BNC or Cheddar News.
If you are ready to take action and want to discuss how Burnalong can support your employee’s holistic wellness, schedule a quick call with us now.