Danish company abolishes children’s sick day limit

Your three-year-old woke up with an eye infection, but you managed to clear most of the dirt. Your five-year-old has a slight temperature, so there’s a chance he’ll come down with something, but he’ll definitely make it through the day—especially if you give him a pill.

Working parents wake up to these kinds of dilemmas all the time: Should they look after their children at home so they don’t potentially infect others, or do they take them in and risk being outsmarted by the teaching staff?

It is both a moral and an economic dilemma; according to the law, every Danish worker only has two children’s sick days each year. Once they have used their limit, they will not be paid for any additional days they take off.

This is particularly problematic for employees who do not have the opportunity to work at home.

Relieves stress, increases loyalty and increases employee satisfaction
The energy group Norlys is the exception. Since March 1, it has given its employees an unlimited number of days off to care for their sick children.

“It is a huge vote of confidence. We are happy and very proud,” said one of its employees, Maria Østergaard, mother of two young children DR.

“Many of my colleagues were stressed when one of the children was ill. For the sake of work, there were many – myself included – who dropped off a half-sedated child at day care. It hurts. You get hit because you don’t think you’re doing well enough as a parent, and that it’s not fair to your child.”

Agnete Lundemose, HR manager at Norlys, is convinced that the measure will bring many benefits and will not end up being a financial burden: “We believe that we will get more satisfied and less stressed employees, and we will get something in return another way, in the form of increased loyalty from employees.”

Could the Norlys example inspire new thinking?
A labor market research expert at Aalborg University believes that more companies will probably follow Norly’s example – if the new provision is successful.

“Attracting talented employees has a lot to do with being able to offer good conditions in the workplace – and this is a good example of that,” says Professor Thomas Bredgaard. DR.

“If, for example, you cannot get more pay or other benefits, then you can put this proposal on the table.”

Source: The Nordic Page




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