Few people would admit it, but many take a sick day when they are not ill but just not "feeling up to work". This is an abuse of the system and can mean that your manager does not take you seriously when you really are too sick to work.
Kay Vittee, CEO of recruitment company Quest Staffing Solutions, says: "Many employees incorrectly make use of sick leave to have a day off when they should be applying for an annual leave day. Unless recommended by a medical professional, general fatigue is not generally considered a reason to take sick leave."
According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, workers may take one day of fully paid sick leave for every 26 days worked.
She has the following advice:
• It may be tempting to call in sick, but abusing your sick leave will affect your productivity and put unfair strain on your colleagues who have to pick up the slack;
• Your reputation will suffer. "People who take lots of time off work or are regarded as not pulling their weight rarely get promoted or recommended for a salary increase," warns Vittee; and
• Many employees do not know what sort of physical ailments constitute valid reasons for taking sick leave. "Identify your symptoms and then make an educated decision as to whether you are well enough to go to work, or whether you should stay at home or seek medical advice.
"It's important to know when it's time to call in sick and what the best option is for both you and your colleagues," she says.