Trying to decide whether or not to use a paid sick day can be an incredibly difficult decision for members of the workforce. Although a full day of recovery when you wake up under the weather can shorten an illness’s lifespan, saving up those days for the unexpected can seem more important.
For a group of teachers in Florida, those decisions to save th
eir paid sick leave ended up proving invaluable when they realized a fellow teacher needed those days more than they did.
High school history teacher Robert Goodman was terrified when he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in April 2018.
He used 38 sick days at the end of the school year while he underwent treatment, but realized by mid-July that he was short 20 sick days to qualify for a “catastrophic leave of absence” through his school district.
Desperate, he posted a message on Facebook, asking if any teachers had any sick days to spare and directing them to the Human Resources department at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School.
Knowing the kind of giving hearts that teachers have, Goodman had hoped that the message would help him scrape together enough days to make it through his treatment and hopefully return to the classroom.
Urgent Help Now: Battling Cancer Chemo : I work at Pal Beach Gardens High School -I’m looking into catastrophic leave of…
What he didn’t expect, though, was just how impressive the response to his plea would be. Before he knew it, 75 days had been transferred to Goodman from teachers who pay into the Florida retirement system—and not just from his own school, either. He told CNN that professors from Florida Atlantic University reached out with days to spare, and even administrators and lunchroom workers rang up his school’s HR department to make sure he was taken care of.
The practice has become somewhat common in the American workplace, particularly when it comes to medical and paternity leave. As one of the few nations without a paid paternity leave system, workers have adapted by compiling “baby leave” packages out of their paid sick days for expecting parents as shower gifts—and like in Goodman’s situations, others have done the same for unexpected illnesses.
In this case, though, Goodman isn’t just appreciative to the teachers for helping him—he’s grateful that it will give him the opportunity to recover properly so he can get back to doing what he loves.
“Students sharing stories of how I’ve positively influenced them was a good reminder of why I chose to teach and why I can’t wait to get back,” Goodman said.
I want to thank all of you for supporting me by donating sick days and words of encouragement it’s proof that love is…