Scheduling Those Sick Days

Absenteeism at businesses of fewer than 100 employees is up 16% over last year, according to CCH Inc., exacerbating the effects of the labor shortage. Unscheduled absences are costing small business an average of $506 per employee this year. That's $100 more than last year. Retailers were hit hardest. One reason, managers say, is that designated sick days create a "use it or lose it" mentality. They say the best counterstrategy may be paid-leave "banks," which let employees accrue unused sick days as vacation or personal days, which workers will take on a scheduled basis rather than calling in sick.