emceng wrote:My question is at what point does his health become the problem of the employer, and when does that obligation end? How long do you have to work someplace before you're allowed to take 9 months off for stress leave? As a manager, if we had a guy leave due to illness, it's going to cause a huge freaking problem. Losing someone to another company is an enormous headache(one I'm dealing with right now). Losing someone long term due to illness is another, even bigger headache. You are still spending all the money you did before on salary, but have nothing to show for it. You can't hire someone long term, because you can't promise them a job in case the first person comes back.
First, let's remove sick leave for stress from the discussion, because it's perfectly clear that several people here are unwilling to consider that as anything other than fraud. So let's talk about taking sick leave for ... I don't know, how about cancer? Or being in a coma from a car accident that cannot even remotely be construed as the fault of the individual under discussion.
Let's also be clear that sick leave is not necessarily paid
. Just like the 8 weeks maternity leave that the US federal government mandates an employer honors, it can be no more than the promise of a job when one returns.
In the US, there is almost no legal obligation between an employer and an employee who cannot work. Person gets sick and misses work, employer can fire them. For the most part, the rest of the modern industrialized world (and lots of people in the US) think that's pretty much bullshit. But hey. That being said, many employers who offer health insurance (which isn't every one -- again, sorta bullshit) also carry short and long term disability insurance. Sometimes the premium is paid by the employer, sometimes by the employee. A typical benefit from these programs goes something like this:
Employee is ill, as determined by a medical professional and unable to work for an extended period of time. First, they will consume their accrued paid sick time and paid vacation time (again, if such things are actually offered). Then short term disability coverage kicks it. These plans typically offer 50-70% of base salary for 10-26 weeks. After that, the employee either has to return to work, go on long term disability coverage, or is out of a job.
As long term disability coverage is less frequently provided by employers, it's not as easy to summarize. But it will frequently be 33-50% salary for a longer period, often times with a maximum benefit cap. Sometimes it caps at a year, perhaps some even as much as 10. After which, if the disability persists, the person can return to work, or is out of a job. Perhaps they can apply for social security. Perhaps they're just screwed.
It is important to note that the employees salary is paid for by an insurance claim rather than directly out of pocket for the employer. This frees the employer to hire temporary or semi-permanent replacements.