Is it legal for an employer to not allow you to work the day after you called out sick?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal for an employer to not allow you to work the day after you called out sick?

I work at a daycare and a policy the
new directors have adopted is that if a
person calls out last minute and
doesn’t show up with a doctors note,
they are not allowed to come to work
the day after their call out day. For
example Mary calls out on Wednesday
and if she doesn’t have a doctors note
then she is not allowed to show up to
work on Thursday and none of the
days get payed. Is that legal?

Asked on August 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is completely legal. Employers set the terms and conditions for work, including "sick" policy; an employer is free to require a doctor's note to verify an illness (or that an employee is "safe" to be at work--especially in a place daycare) when the employee calls out sick at the last minute. Employers don't need to let you call out sick at all: unless you earn and use sick days or other applicable paid time off, or are eligible for and use FMLA leave, an employer may simply terminate you for missing work. Since they don't need to let you call out sick, they can put terms and conditions on it when you do. Remember: except if you have a contract, employment in this country is employment at will, which means that employees without a written contract have essentially no rights at work.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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