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Strict Attendance Policies Are Ableist

February 29, 2020

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Strict attendance policies are ableist. You know schools/workplaces have strict attendance policies. I believe they are ableist to people with Chronic Illnesses. I think it’s inhumane.  Schools and jobs don’t allot enough sick days. (or don’t give any at all) I can’t understand why.

I will explain how these strict attendance policies are ableist and how they hurt disabled people.

When I was in grade school they had perfect attendance rewards. This encourages people to come to school sick, spreading their illness. I think it’s wrong. If I had cancer, for example, I would not be happy about someone putting my health at risk to walk away with a reward. It’s not about life bs. It’s about safety. Coming to school or work sick, you may be putting someone with a weak immune system in danger. A few days in bed for you can put them in the hospital or a coffin.

Most schools/employers require a doctor’s note. Not everyone has insurance and can’t afford an arm and a leg just for a note.

Long wait times have to be factored in. Most of the time I have to wait a month to get in to see my regular doc.  A note for a headache is not really needed. A note for something small is not needed. Some don’t even accept the note.

Some people are fired or the boss threatens to fire them if they call off. I personally think strict attendance policies are ableist and inhuman.

If someone passes out and the ambulance is called, they’re cited for unauthorized leave. Some companies do this. Like Wallmart. I analyzed an article someone wrote about were Walmart employees who shared their stories of getting fired due to medical emergencies that happened to them while on duty.

This is also ableist. Punishing someone for a medical emergency out of their control. Folks with chronic illnesses will most likely have a medical emergency.

My friend who has seizures was eventually fired from her job for her condition.

A guy on her list got nasty saying he wish he can ‘lay around.’ Her friend defended her and told him her medical condition got in the way to the point where her job fired her. Maybe it’s a liability thing.

If you’re chronically ill, you’re sick 365 days a year.

People with chronic illnesses are sick 365 days a year. If someone with the flu passes it on to someone with cancer, it can put them in the hospital or a coffin.  Someone with let’s say IBS can have several flare-ups a week. Someone with cancer may need to take time off for chemo or whatever treatment they require. Updating this as of 2022.  I have IBS flare-ups that last 3-4 days as we speak. Sometimes pain meds don’t stop it.

Schools have strict attendance rules that are ridiculous.

When I was in high school you were given 10 days per term. The first term was August-Jan. The second term started after Martin Luther King Jr. Day until the end of the year.

Kids can’t miss too many days or else they will fall behind. Folks don’t get paid for the day(s) they miss. Jobs barely pay a living wage as it is. Bills can’t wait. Employers with ableist attendance rules that even hurt Neurotypicals. They hurt NTs just as much as they hurt ND folks.

4 months is a long time to hope nothing happens

Now 4 months between each term is a long gap for very few excused absences.  Most employers don’t have sick days or give very little. Forcing people to come in sick and/or get punished if they pass out from being too sick. We are no drones. We are not machines.

Also if a shopper walks into your store and sees workers like the walking dead around food you probably would never see them again. You are only hurting your business with these crazy policies. No one wants to buy food that’s possibly contaminated. Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes. If you walked into a store with sick people around food would you shop there again? A restaurant that tried replacing Old Country Buffet where I used to live, got shut down because too many people were getting sick.

They were improperly handling seafood and people got sick. So do you want your store condemned for spreading illnesses? With that virus going out I’m sure as hell not shopping at a store or visiting an eatery with sick people around the food.

I am far from a health inspector. Making employees come to work sick for anything you handle and someone else is going to get should be a health code violation. basically, any job out there where you handle food, merchandise or will interact with people

Remember they are not doing it on purpose. It’s because their job offers no sick days or their boss threatened to fire them if they call out.  They need money to pay their bills, food, rent, or other things.

Jobs need to do better.

I needed several mental health days to recover. It was hard going to school 5 days a week for 8 months. (hence why I cannot handle a full-time job) if I could barely manage to addend school 5 days a week for 7 hours.

We are living, breathing humans. Humans who get sick. Some people need mental health days. A chronically ill person may need more off days than a healthy person to let their body recover.

Some kids can cut class which leads to strict attendance policies. This hurts people with disabilities/illnesses.

Some people can’t get to their doctor throughout the week. Weekends may be booked. Not all places are open for the weekends.

This is why I think there needs to be an online option where you can work/do the lesson online. This way folks won’t fall too far behind or lose money.

It’s 2020. For schools why not put the lesson online and if a student needs to miss a day they can do the lesson from home and won’t fall too far behind. The same for jobs. Add an option to work from home. Add something they can do from home. Come up with a plan.  If there was someone you wanted to hire but ran out of slots, have them fill in for absent workers.

Some folks have kids and if their kids are sick, they can’t leave them home by themselves. They can’t afford daycare or don’t want a stranger watching their child.

This is why there need to be work-from-home options or more work-from-home jobs people can take on as a side gig. If they get sick or something happens then they still have their side gig and won’t have to worry too much about bills or food.

This is why I am all for self-employment and why I try to promote it.

If you have been punished for such a thing you can submit your story. Refer to the submit your story page on the blog

Closing thoughts

I want to cover more ableism on this blog. If you have been punished at school or work when your illness causes you to miss days, I’d like to know. I am not blogging about autism or mental health anymore on this blog, you’re more than welcome to hire me to write for your blog.

This blog isn’t only about autism and mental health but about fighting against ableism. Talking about strict attendance policies that impact even people w/o disabilities is something that needs awareness.

It’s like these policies only fit people with perfect health and perfect immune systems and hurts people with mental illness, chronic illnesses, and other things.

Things need to change. Shit happens and that’s OK. It’s time to work on more plans. It’s not the employee’s fault that the company failed to make a plan if someone called off.

Becoming self-employed is hard. This is why we need more courses to help people they can escape this toxic abusive nature in the workplace.

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