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News to Me: Women Call in Sick More Than Men

We all get sick, it's just a part of life, but did you know that workers are calling in sick less often than they did a decade ago? That's the good news, but according to MSNBC, women are still absent nearly twice as often as their male counterparts. Although some people feel the obvious reason for this is because women are the main caretakers in the family and need to tend to their sick children at home, that isn't necessarily the case.

According to Terence McMenamin, of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even people who have no children at home, the reported absence rate is higher among women than among men. I am sure we are all guilty of playing hooky and using the sick card from time to time, but ladies, tell me: Do you make it a point to use all of your allotted sick time?


Join The Conversation
subhuman-error subhuman-error 9 years
I have already had to call in sick twice in the past two months. This season is not looking good so far!
JessBear JessBear 9 years
The only reason I can think of for that statistic is cramps. That HAS to be it, because in my experience, men are much wimpier about getting sick than women.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
lol if im given 8 paid sick days a year, then believe I will call in sick about 8 times that year. I hate the fact that I spend more time at work than at home! urgh, if I get days to stay home and get paid for it then why not. wink
mlen mlen 9 years
i've taken very few real sick days in the past 5 years i have been working. maybe like 5 or 6 total. i think 3 of them i was sick and the other 2 or 3 were mental health days- i was just sick of being at work!! but no i never use up my allotted sick time.. but i do use up every last vacation and personal day!!
MsWalton MsWalton 9 years
I make every effort to use all of my sick hours that I get every year. The slightest cough will send me home, lol.
Femmekid Femmekid 9 years
I usually only call in sick when I need a mental health day or if I'm on my period with severe cramps.
Dawnie86 Dawnie86 9 years
I had a colleague which was like 1 day a week sick. He clearly wasn't in that stat! And my good friend is a real sissy! When he gots a flue hes like two weeks sooooooo sick and could die any second. :P But twice as much as men? I think thats just because woman have menstrual cramps and stuff like that. Men don't have things like that. So ones a month woman just natrually *ill* when someone like to call it that. And i have it really bad, i can't somedays don't even walk straight, cause it hurt to much. I call sick when its that bad. Other woman have it as bad as me, or worse. And when you think about it... men don't have things like that, so woman have to have more sick days then men. But i don't like it when someone call in sick, when the don'T even sick! I never did that. I don't think i ever will. Its just not right.
KerryG KerryG 9 years
Wow, some of these comments are the complete opposite of my experience. In my family, my mom and sister and I will keep going until we are literally too sick to sit up, while my father and husband will get a stuffy nose and spend two days moaning in bed. I've also heard from people who would know (husband is in medicine) that one of the reasons women are more likely to die of heart attacks than men (though less likely to have them in the first place) is because they're much more likely just to try to keep going despite the discomfort and not even consider going to the hospital until it's too late. As far as I'm concerned, men are wimps. But it also doesn't surprise me that women would take more sick days. Menstrual cramps and work are un-mixy things, especially the severe kind, and not everybody is helped by the Pill.
licia licia 9 years
I don't really have a set number of days I can or can't miss, but if I just absolutely have to take off a day I can. I try not to miss a whole day of work because I don't have anyone to cover for me and if I'm out work backs up and everything comes unglued. Honestly.. I mean they act like the world is coming to an end. I don't think I miss more than twice in a year on average.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
I once had a male boss who came in when he had the flu and infected the whole office. I'd take a day off if I'm contagious or if I keep expelling gross stuff. Coworkers and fellow riders of public transportation do not need to be exposed to that. Another thing could be that even if there aren't children in the picture, women are more likely to be stuck with some caretaker role with older family members or something like that.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 9 years
My job doesn't allow paid sick time. If you are sick you either don't get paid or you have to use your vacation time. I only call in sick when I am really bad or I get sent home from work because I am really bad. My boyfriend however owns a cafe and girls are calling in 'sick' all the time. He makes them bring in a doctors note before they returned, but the new thing is they have 'cramps' to which I call BS.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Not ours, Urban. It's just part of how it's set up, and they don't care how you use them. In fact, they'd prefer it be vacation, because there's notification and approval required for using those, so coverage can be set up.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I have a pretty strong immune system (knock on wood!) and despite starting a new job two months ago, I haven't used my sick days. But I hear it's not a good idea to bank those days and use them for vacation time if you've been healthy all year. Employers get upset in instances like that.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
i haven't needed to take a sick day yet...fingers crossed
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
Well, I take a lot of sick TIME (not days always) to go to doctor appointments, my kids therapy, dentist, eye doc, etc. So I'm not always SICK when I take time off. I actually rarely take a sick day when I'm sick. I will admit, I did take a 'mental health' sick day a few weeks ago because I just couldn't muster the energy to go in. :oops:
mrspiven mrspiven 9 years
i leave my sick days for vacation... i don't really get sick very often so i usually have most of them left over. but i take them all, that's what they're there for!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
My husband takes more sick days for our children's illnesses than I do.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
I haven't missed an entire day of work in 2 years.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Greggie, same works here for my PTO. Right now I have a month's worth of paid time off. I rarely just take a day and call it a sick day just to have a day off. I have to be pretty sick too to take one off, not just a cold or something. Most of my time off I schedule. My boyfriend has never called in sick and he's 29, he sticks it out. On the other hand I also know some people who call in for every ache and pain and I think that's a tad absurd.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
Women also have to call in sick due to child sickness. I do make a point to use my allotted time. If companies were smart they would let us save them up for if we ever became VERY SICK. Since they aren't smart (most), I make sure to use them or I lose them.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
Thats right and we have all the right in the world to! I mean, do men leak every month? NO! They have no idea the amount of energy it takes to go to work while PMSing, so yea, if I feel like calling in sick then dang it I will. Women are beautiful complicated beings that need their rest more than men do.
HistoryGeek913 HistoryGeek913 9 years
Well, this isn't too surprising. While I have played the sick card when I just needed a day off, I don't deliberately use all of my sick time. I will, however, take the day off if I am sick. I see no reason to make myself miserable and/or possibly spread my germs around to my coworkers. People who make martyrs out of themselves when they drag themselves in when they are sick just make me angry! I don't want your germs - go home! (this is directed at you, annoying selfish martyr co-worker who has bronchitis but is still at work today). I also go to the doctor way more often than my husband does, for checkups, etc., and I use "sick time" for when my drs appointments are during the day.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I agree with nikodarling - women are far more likely to understand that resting for a day will help more in the long run than pushing it and going into work no matter what. My sick time converts to vacation time if I need it to, so yeah, I'm sure to take it all. I earned it. But I don't just randomly call in sick to take it. I call in if I need to, but otherwise I do advance notice and take vacation/personal days.
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
Its a fact tht women are much more proactive about their health. We go to the doctor more often and have more tests done than our male counterparts. I think men have been taught to tough things out and not seek medical attention. Women are much more likely to take proper care of ourselves if we need it.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 9 years
my mom does not get sick very often but even when she does she goes to work. my dad on the other hand gets sick maybe 3 times a year and he acts like a big baby and will miss work for 2 days at a time.
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