Sickness on a Free Shift Swap

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Sickness on a Free Shift Swap

I have a bit of a problem with my employer, our company is operating on a 4 day basis with shift patterns of 4 days working 4 days off. Me and another employee have done a free shift swap which basically means that as I took 2 days off my shift he came in to cover me and on a different dates when he was off for 2 days I was coming in to cover him so we just swapped shifts for 2 days. Problem is that when I was suppose to come in and cover him I came in on the first day but on second day I was not fit to work so I had to take sickness so I was off 1 day of shift swap and 4 days of my shift. My return to work was done for all 5 days totalling 60 hours of sickness as we work 12 hour shifts. The problem now is that company admin are asking me to take a day of holiday to cover this one day of shift swap as I owe the company one day regardless of me telling them that this was suppose to be covered by company sick pay. Can they deduct a day of holiday for me in the situation like this?

Asked on January 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no "right" to a shift swap unless--and only if--you have a written employment contract (including a union agreement) giving you this right. Otherwise, it is for the employer to decide what is allowed regarding a shift  swap and what to do if there is a shift swap, but you can't cover all the "swapped" time. Your employer can also require you to work on a holiday, unless again, you have your holiday schedule set in a contract. So unless you have some contracually guaranteed rights here, it appears your employer can do this.

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