Mobile Firefighters That Report off Sick Don't Have to Be Physically Sick Themselves
Thirty two firefighters reported off sick Saturday May 22nd 2010 on the first shift and the Mobile Press Register is leading the public of Mobile to believe that out of all the Thirty two firefighters that reported off sick only one was actually ill. Supervisors were sent to firefighters homes and also tried calling those who reported off sick but most of those who reported off sick did not answer their phones or open their doors when the supervisors were trying to verify why they were off sick.
On the 27th of May 2010 when firefighters reported to work the subject of discussion was about chief Dean requiring all those firefighters on first shift who reported to work on Tuesday May 25th to report to the chiefs’ office to be questioned about their reasons for reporting off sick on the 22nd of May 2010.
The local media does not know what the sick leave policy for firefighters says and have been implying that firefighters that reported off sick violated sick time policy and put the public in danger.
If citizens of the city of Mobile would take a minute to think they would see that the city of Mobile should be the one responsible for putting the public in danger by not allowing overtime to staff fire trucks and police units and for not having enough funds in the city budget to run public safety in a manner to keep the public safe.
The sick leave policy of the Mobile fire department first of all has an out dated policy dating back to February 2006 and has not been revised since the HIPAA health insurance portability act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 21, 1996.
Before the HIPAA law became effective in 1996 firefighters reporting off sick had to give their supervisor a reason for reporting off sick. Since August 21, 1996 firefighters have not had to give their supervisor a reason to report off until May 25th 2010 unless that employee was a sick leave abuser. Keep in mind this statement mentioned in the rule below: an absence from duty by reason of illness of the employee; exposure to contagious disease; or attendance upon members of the immediate family of the employee whose illness requires the care of such employee; or death in the immediate family of the employee. This means the employee does not have to be physically sick themselves to report off sick.
Here below is a copy of the Mobile county personnel board rules and is public record on the Internet. Credit is given to the Mobile county personnel board rules on a PDF file at this website www.personnelboard.org/Rulebook/rule.pdf.
The current sick leave policy by the Mobile county personnel board rule states that SICK LEAVE. 3.5 (A) Sick leave is hereby defined to mean an absence from duty by reason of illness of the employee; exposure to contagious disease; or attendance upon members of the immediate family of the employee whose illness requires the care of such employee; or death in the immediate family of the employee. The Director shall require evidence, in the form of a doctor's certificate or otherwise, to substantiate a claim for sick leave, or for annual leave used for the purpose of sick leave, for any absence in excess of 40 consecutive work hours for those employees whose hourly rate is based on the 40 hour work week. For those employees whose wages are based on the average 56 hour work week the doctor's statement or otherwise, will be required for any absence in excess of 48 consecutive work hours.
Now after reading the Mobile county personnel board rule on sick leave the Mobile fire department has similar rules for reporting off sick.
Number two on the fire departments rules for reporting off states that an employee that reports off sick shall state the reason (illness of employee or immediate family member, exposure to contagious disease, death in immediate family). This rule is worded the same as that of the Mobile county personnel board rule.
Number eight on the fire department sick leave policy states that if the employee’s illness or disability should extend past the doctors first projected date of return to work, another doctor’s excuse is required at this time.
Number nine of this policy deals with sick leave abuse and states who exhibit signs of sick leave abuse shall be required to submit a doctors excuse anytime SP is used, Sings of sick leave abuse may include but are not limited to:
Using more sick leave than is accumulated, dragging from vacation accumulation to cover sick leave, using sick leave primarily on weekends, using sick leave in conjunction with other leave such as vacation, holiday, or military time, using sick leave in conjunction with local, state, or national holidays, or using sick leave in any observable pattern (always SP on the same day of the week).
Keep in mind the above Mobile fire department policy on sick leave was last updated in February 2006 and has not been revised since the HIPAA act was signed into law. And as was mentioned earlier in this article firefighters have not had to disclose their reasons for reporting off sick unless the firefighter has proven he or she has abused sick leave and is a sick leave abuser.
So with all this information about sick leave it would be safe to say that these 32 firefighters that reported off sick with the assumption of 1 of the 32 actually being sick is just that an assumption.
These employees would have been in their legal rights to report off sick even though they themselves were not sick according to this rule. Sick leave is hereby defined to mean an absence from duty by reason of illness of the employee; exposure to contagious disease; or attendance upon members of the immediate family of the employee whose illness requires the care of such employee; or death in the immediate family of the employee.