Restrictions in the Houston area are back in place but that isn’t the only reason offices are looking empty.
People are calling in sick in record numbers. Either they are sick themselves with Covid or someone in the household is. Or they are too concerned to return to the office.
In the U.S., 1.8 million workers were sick in November. The record of 2 million had been set in April. Legal expert Quentin Brogdon says in some instances, abuse of sick leave can be considered a crime. “It is. It can shut down a factory or a business, therefore it can interfere with commerce, and therefore it can potentially be a federal crime.”
The absenteeism, as the government officially calls sick leave, is impeding the economic recovery. Sales and consumer spending are down, as are income levels at a national rate. For those who still collect a paycheck full time, getting paid to not work can be tempting, but it can be taken too far. “The FBI recently warned employers to be on the lookout for fraud,” says Brogdon. “Employees can be arrested for making fraudulent claims.”
The only thing likely to bring healthy people back into the workforce at previous levels will be widespread use of vaccinations against Covid.
photo: Getty Images