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January 14, 2003
Airline Asks Employees to Take Fewer Sick Days
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rican Airlines says it wants employees to use less sick leave so the company can avoid using other cost-cutting measures, the Dallas/Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Last year, more than 5 percent of the airline's workforce was out sick on a typical day, costing the company $1 million every day, according to the airline's chief executive.

"We desperately need all our employees to come to work unless injury or illness truly prevents them from doing so," Chief Executive Don Carty said in a recorded message to employees. "We should be grateful for the protection we receive through sick or injury-on-duty pay, but we simply can't afford to have any employee take these benefits for granted or to misuse them."

Employees tell the Star-Telegram that they don't believe workers abuse the company's sick-leave policy.

"I don't think our sick calls are anything out of the ordinary for our work group," says a representative of the flight attendants' union. "We're in an enclosed environment with re-circulated air. We're exposed to a multitude of illnesses on a regular basis.

The airline is trying to cut costs and the chief executive says that if employees use less sick time, it would help the airline avoid making cuts in other areas, the Star-Telegram reports.

"We are going to have to find the additional $2 billion we need in annual cost savings one way or the other," he says. "Eliminating the abuse of sick time and workers comp seems a pretty easy way of getting a big chunk of that goal."



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