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NYC jail guards must prove they’re sick to doctors under new Correction Department policy
By: GRAHAM RAYMAN | NY DAILY NEWS August 5, 21. 11:57

Correction officers calling in sick must now prove they’re under the weather to a doctor.

The new policy imposed by Correction Department Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi is the latest measure to combat the severe staffing crisis at city jails. Now, correction officers must undergo a medical exam every time they say they’re unable to fill a shift due to illness. The free doctor visits are available to correction officers at five sites run by Mount Sinai Hospital.

“All members calling out sick must make an appointment with the department’s designated provider (Mount Sinai) for the same day and no later than within 24 hours after calling out sick,” Schiraldi wrote in a memo to commanding officers. “The designated provider will indicate whether the member is fit for full duty, is fit for duty with limitation or is not fit for duty.”

The move, effective Monday, is aimed at reducing a wave of sick calls that has continued even as the city moves on from the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic. In a recent interview, Schiraldi told the Daily News that roughly 2,900 officers were either out sick on a single day last month or on medical monitoring that prevented them from working in detainee areas. Around 7,600 correction officers work for the city.

The News reported last week on an inmate’s complaints about a lack of correction officers on duty, which he detailed in a Correction Department logbook.

The new protocol is a sharp departure from a 20-year-old policy that required medical documentation only for officers who called in sick more than two days in a row.

The Correction Officers Benevolent Association immediately slammed the policy.

“The DOC’s latest punitive sick leave policy that forces our members, who are recovering from brutal inmate assaults, the physical exhaustion of working 25 hours or more daily without meals, and the long-term effects of COVID-19, to make a doctor’s appointment within 24 hours of calling out sick is consistent with the continued abuse we’ve come to expect from our commissioners,” COBA President Benny Boscio said.

Boscio added that Correction Department brass previously “harassed” officers who had doctor’s notes showing they were positive for COVID-19.

“Why doesn’t Commissioner Schiraldi take a post for 25 hours without meals or try to break up fights between warring gang members before he plays with the health and safety of our members’ lives?” he said. “This is disgraceful, and we will fight this policy vigorously.”

Boscio had asked for 30 days to review the new policy, but the Correction Department declined, a union source said.

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