Photo By: 

What is a Sick Pool

Donating time to a co-worker in need is one way that organized labor practices what it preaches

Brian Young's picture
Nov 23, 2016

The worst thing that can happen to someone is that they get sick and are unable to work for an extended period of time.  After quickly exhausting their paid sick leave, vacation time and personal days, they are left wondering how they will pay the bills.  At union workplaces, and at a select few non-union workplaces, a solution exists called the sick pool.

The sick leave pool is time that is donated by co-workers to help out a fellow employee who suffers a catastrophic medical event.  Depending on the union contract, eligible employees may donate sick leave or vacation days into the pool.  This allows employees who may face the loss of their unused sick days at the end of the year to donate them to help out a fellow co-worker.  Usually these sick days can stay within the pool, building and not expiring until someone needs to use them.  For IBEW 459 member Tom Whitehead, the sick pool within the IBEW meant that he could focus on helping his daughter beat the rare form of Leukemia that she was battling without having to worry.  The peace of mind that he received allowed him to be with her for every doctors visit and there every step of the way.

For someone who is going through cancer treatments or suffering from a debilitating illness, these pools give the employee the peace of mind to focus on getting better and not worrying about their next paycheck.  It is a great set up to be able to help out your fellow co-workers.  If you are interested in making a donation, check with your local union to see if you have a sick day pool. This is yet just another way that unions make our workplaces a better place to work.

Sign up for our e-Newsletter!