If I am not sick, can I use my paid sick days until COVID-19 is under control?

The long and the short of it:  


I have a county job, and I consider myself one of the lucky ones who gets a paycheck when everyone else is unsure if they will be able to keep paying their bills.  

I live in a county that up until recently was lucky with Corona cases until about two weeks ago—then that luck ran out. Corona is now spreading fast where I live, and two people in my sub-department are home on quarantine for being exposed to someone with the virus, and that has me shook up, as while I am not elderly in the "danger zone" age, I am well past the so called safe age.

There was a lot of talk last week among the higher-ups in the department about sending everyone home (government job, so they would have to pay us), but that idea died on Friday. 

I have over fifteen weeks of sick days compiled and seven weeks of vacation time, and while I am not keen on burning through all the paid leave hours that I spent years to accumulate, the little voice inside my head keeps telling me "better safe than sorry". But, CAN I even use sick days just for "I feel unsafe" if I am well? And, if I can't use my sick days like that, I probably shouldn't ask about it at work. There is also zero guarantee that this mess will be over and done with in twenty-two weeks, or maybe I will get lucky and the department will send us all home next week or the week after. 


So, can I use my paid sick days for Corona if I am not sick, and if so: should I?  




5 Answers

  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    1) There ain't no "safe age". 65+ is a "worse age", but none is safe.

    Are you union? If so, your shop steward could answer many of your questions. But I doubt that you can use sick days if you aren't sick. You might (with supervisor approval) use vacation days, but unless you are sick, sick days are inappropriate.

    Relax and wait, the policy will change soon.

  • 6 months ago

    That is a question for your boss. In most jobs, it is up to your manager to approve time off requests. My guess is that you cannot use sick time when you aren’t sick, but some HR policies are temporarily changing due to COVID-19. You may also want to consider whether you really want to use up all of your paid time off. What happens if the pandemic lasts longer than 22 weeks? What if you get it after the pandemic is over? SARS-CoV-2 virus isn’t going to go away altogether when the pandemic ends. What if you are injured, sick with something else, or have a family emergency of some sort?

    I would find out from your boss if you would be allowed to use your sick and vacation time this way. Then you can think about whether you want to or not.

  • 6 months ago

    No law prevents it. Just call out sick. You are of course subject to any policies regarding use of that time, and that would be something we couldn't guess at.

  • Yeti
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    You'd need to talk with your management.

    But most if not all locations are saying it's not appropriate to use sick days unless, for example, you're suddenly so anxious you cannot work, even at home. Or they can be appropriate if you need to care for someone else, or suddenly have kids at home to watch, etc.

    And yes, though you might not prefer to use the paid leave, that's the wiser route if you want time off right now regardless. If you get sick and are hit hard, or need to care for someone else, you might really need at least a couple months of sick leave. Or you might need the job to decide when it's appropriate to use it for compensation purposes.

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  • xyzzy
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Why would you ask this here? No on knows. Ask your boss or maybe HR. By this time there must be a policy in place and only your organization will know if you can use your time or not.

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