Why More and More Companies Are Giving Their Employees “Unsick Days”

“Unsick days” are now a thing –  and you may want to drop your boss a hint.

I’ve had the same conversation with a handful of young Toronto professionals as of late: how is it possible to fit in visits to the doctor, dentist and specialists with already overly chaotic schedules?

We’ve all been in those situations when you just know that your “quick appointment” or “I’ll-be-back-in-a-minute” coffee run is taking way longer than anticipated and that your coworkers definitely notice. And yes, it causes anxiety.

But a growing number of companies South of the Border are giving their employees “unsick days” – and are urging others to do the same.

As Glamour reports, “Unsick days” are days out of the office that employees can use to for preventative health care like going to the dentist, physician, optometrist or massage therapist.


Photography credit: Teeth Implants/Costculator

Basically, they take the additional anxiety out of the mid-day appointment and subsequently encourage people to be on top of their health when it comes to their annual appointments.

Companies who’ve jumped on the “unsick day” train include ZocDoc, Foursquare, Virgin Hotels, Handy, and Zola, who have all given employees an unsick day to use in 2017.

“Unsick Day will empower American workers to take care of important preventive care check-ups like annual physicals, skin screenings, and dental cleanings that are often neglected due to workplace pressures and obligations,” ZocDoc says in a statement.


The company highlights a very valid point:

“In today’s workplace culture, there is a dangerous conflict between work and health. Employees rarely leave their desks for lunch, let alone to visit the doctor for important check-ups,” it says.

ZocDoc urges other employers to offer the day to their employees as well.

“Unsick Day aims to change this adversarial relationship between work and health by encouraging employers to create a culture of permissiveness around preventive care,” it says.

Not surprisingly, the employees think it’s a good idea too.

A survey conducted by ZocDoc revealed that 60 percent of American workers feel uncomfortable leaving work for preventive care appointments – and it’s safe to assume that their Canadian counterparts feel the same way. The survey also found that it’s their company culture that makes them feel this way.

But it really shouldn’t.

Instead, we should move toward a corporate culture that puts employee health front and centre. Case-in-point: one UK company even offers employees a “period policy,” giving females time off for cramps.

Plus, encouraging your staff to stay on top of their health means they may even take fewer days off in the long-run. Still, working in an environment that promotes health and wellness (mental and physical) shouldn’t be a perk, but a given.