But in my previous life as a contractor, paid time off was a whole different story. I received it, but only after working for six months, and it wasn't very much: five days for the whole year, accrued at a slow pace. And if I were to find myself not working for a few months, it would go away and I would need to start all over again in my next contract. Still, this was better than the situation for contractors at some other companies, who didn't receive any paid time off at all. Needless to say, I didn't intentionally take time off very often, and when I did, I factored the lost income into budgeting and planning. What's more, I only took time off for being sick when I was feeling so terrible that I had no other choice.
It's easy to say "don't come to work when you're sick," which most places do, especially after last year's H1N1 scare. But actions speak louder than words, and if your staffing firm, outsourcing company, or agency doesn't pay their contractors and consultants to stay home when they're sick, what are you really saying to them?