Fremont SSW Stands Up For Right to Use Sick Leave

NAPE/AFSCME member Melissa Haynes is a Social Services Worker at the Fremont Customer Service Center. This spring, Melissa called in sick one day, appropriately notifying her supervisor as soon as she knew she would be absent. The absence was approved, and Melissa was able to use her earned sick leave for the day. However, when she returned to work, her supervisor asked her to provide a doctor’s note for the absence. 

Our union contract only requires a doctor’s note to be provided if an absence exceeds three consecutive work days or if sick leave abuse is suspected. Since Melissa was only sick for one day, she did not need to go to a doctor and was not contractually required to provide a note. She even asked her supervisor if sick leave abuse was suspected, and it was not. Melissa informed her supervisor that she did not visit the doctor and believed she was not required to provide a doctor’s note, and in response, she was issued a supervisory counseling. 

Melissa reached out to NAPE for assistance, and a grievance was soon filed. The grievance alleged that Melissa’s supervisor violated the contract by requiring her to provide a doctor’s note when she was only absent from work for one day. A meeting was held with DHHS Labor Relations, who agreed that a doctor’s note was not required in this situation, and the supervisory counseling must be removed. Eventually, the counseling was rescinded, and supervisors were reminded that doctor’s notes can only be required if an absence exceeds three consecutive work days, or if sick leave abuse is suspected.

NAPE Members have rights regarding the use of sick leave and providing doctor’s notes. If you believe your contractual rights have been violated, contact NAPE right away for assistance.