Q. If you are entitled to sick days that you don’t need, can you claim to be sick and use these days as paid vacation time? — Anonymous, New York
A. Sick days are exactly that – a provision for the employee who is genuinely unable to work. Think of them as a kind of insurance policy provided by your employer. Would you fake an illness in order to collect from your health insurance? Claiming bogus sick days amounts to the same thing.
You shouldn’t take even unpaid sick leave if you are healthy. Your employer can’t afford to have employees take days off whenever they please; unpaid sick days are meant to avoid hardship for the genuinely ill worker. (If you don’t get paid sick leave, you also shouldn’t show up when you are too ill to work.)
Besides, how will you feel the next day when everybody asks sympathetically if you’re feeling better and offers you their fool-proof home remedies?
Source: Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, 337:19.