When To Call In Sick—Food Service Sick Leave Explained

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When To Call In Sick—Food Service Rules

If you work with food, the responsibility is huge—that is why you should never go to work when sick. Once you notice symptoms, you must inform your employer in time (not too late) that you need sick leave. This article will tell you when to call in sick for food service workers.

If you don’t know how to inform your employer about taking sick leave, , and our app will do it for you.

Why You Should Never Go to Work Sick When You Work With Food

Working with food when sick may have grave consequences for your customers—you can pass on the illness to someone who eats at your restaurant. If you think that you can power through your work even when sick, think again because it can be dangerous. If you have any of the following symptoms, tell your employer, and they will have to let you off work:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Fever accompanied by a sore throat

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that an employee reports these kinds of symptoms to their manager. Going to work when experiencing such symptoms will most likely endanger the well-being of your customers and colleagues.

Be Extra Careful With Foodborne Illnesses

When you work with food, you must be extra cautious with foodborne illnesses. If you are diagnosed with any of the “Big Five”—the most common foodborne illnesses—you should inform your manager straight away. The five most common illnesses are:

  1. E. coli
  2. Salmonella
  3. Norovirus
  4. Shigella
  5. Hepatitis A

These illnesses are extremely contagious, so if you believe you have any of them, notify your manager via email or over the phone and stay home. They cannot force you to work because they know you are dangerous to the customers and other workers.

If you contract COVID-19, you should also stay at home—you are protected by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

Does Your State Protect Your Rights?

There are 15 states and the District of Columbia that have laws or are intending to adopt laws that protect employees when they’re sick. The following table presents the states that have sick leave rules:

CaliforniaArizonaPennsylvaniaNorth Carolina
MichiganFloridaVirginiaNew York
WashingtonColoradoVermontRhode Island
New JerseyDistrict of ColumbiaOhioGeorgia

Some states that aren’t in the table have county-level sick leave rules and regulations, so you should also check the laws about time off in your county.

Make sure to study your restaurant’s policies as they should explain the rules regarding employees having to report feeling ill to their supervisors.

The Family and Medical Leave Act—How Can It Help?

The FMLA regulates unpaid leave of 12 weeks within a 12-month period for all eligible employees. Find the eligibility criteria in the table below:

Eligibility Criteria for CompaniesEligibility Criteria for Employees
A company is eligible for FMLA protection if it has at least 50 employees within 75 miles of the office locationYou are eligible for FMLA benefits if you:
  • Have worked at your company for at least a year
  • Have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months

DoNotPay Helps You Request a Sick Leave in Minutes

To call in sick, you have to contact your HR department, your supervisor, or both. If you don’t want to waste any time, you can , and we will do it on your behalf.

Our app will create a rock-solid sick leave request letter, so you don’t have to worry about writing it yourself. You only need to input some information about your company and your absence, and DoNotPay will create your letter quickly.

Follow these steps after you log in:

  1. Locate the Request Sick Leave tool and select the state where your company is located so we can find the relevant sick leave laws (if there are any)
  2. Provide some necessary information about your workplace
  3. Enter the dates on which you’ll be absent from work
  4. Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the letter or if you want to send the request to your employer by yourself

If your employer fires you for taking sick leave, you can send demand letters to them in small claims court with our help.

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