City of Lorain Cracking Down on ‘Sick Time Abuse’

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LORAIN, Ohio -- The city of Lorain is cracking down on sick days.

"We are short staffed in many departments and when people abuse a privilege such as sick leave, it makes an impact on the hardworking people that come to work everyday," said Safety Service Director Robert Fowler.

Fowler says the city employs 450 workers, however a couple employees are being investigated for sick time abuse. As a result, every worker that calls off sick will get a visit at home from a nurse with the Health Department.

"In one of the union contracts, it requires that if you speculate that someone is abusing sick leave, you send a nurse," explained Fowler.

Since the home checks began in February, the city says they've seen a 90 percent reduction in sick leave use in one department alone.

But around town, the city's sick day policy isn't settling well with some people.

"I understand the point they are trying to make. What I don't understand is how they think they have the right to invade people's privacy," said Theresa Oursler.

"They should bring a nurse in. If you are sick, you are sick. Sick doesn't mean you go to the beach," said Richard Zakarian.

"Usually when I am calling off, I'm not really sick. But those are my sick days to use. It's none of their business," said Tiffany Ortiz.

The city says the sick day policy is all part of Mayor Chase Ritenauer's plan to crack down on violations of the city's rules and regulations. However, the Mayor says he realizes that 95 percent of the work force does follow the rules.

"It is being discussed with the Unions and we are working towards a policy citywide," said the Mayor in a statement.