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SICK LEAVE AGAIN! By Tonyette Sharpe

posted 3 Jan 2015, 07:46 by Gerry Kangalee
Hardly had the New Year begun than when we see an attack by Noel Kalicharan on Teachers' sick leave entitlement. He does so in a letter to the editor entitled “Sick leave abuse endemic in TT". The letter is printed in both Newsday of January 1st 2014 at page 14 and the Express at page 15 respectively.

In his letter Kalicharan states that teachers make sure to claim their full benefit of 14 casual and 14 sick days, "regardless of whether they're sick or not"!

The first question that must be posed: is Mr. Kalicharan a qualified Medical Doctor? Secondly, must teachers wait until they are on the verge of collapse before using their sick leave entitlement? Thirdly, the focus of his letter is on SICK LEAVE, why did he mention teachers' 14 day casual leave entitlement in the same breath? Is this to skew public opinion against teachers?

Fourthly, is Mr. Kalicharan aware that a teacher may look very healthy and be in fact sick? Fifthly, is Mr. Kalicharan aware that for December, 2014, 3 teachers were sick enough to meet their deaths and that one actually suffered a massive heart attack on the job?

We have to be very careful how we as teachers judge who is or is NOT sick. I am aware that even teachers take it upon themselves to criticize fellow teachers who use their sick leave

The decision as to whether one is sick or not should be left up to the INDIVIDUAL and his doctor. The teacher has lived in his body. He alone can decide whether or not he's just not feeling well enough to work.

In the same breath I will say it is wrong take sick leave if we are 'good to go'! It is up to the Ministry of Education to call the teacher and his doctors to account where the Ministry feels that the teacher may be abusing sick leave.