Make it a policy that if you are sick for 2 or more days, in a row, you must have a doctor's excuse and a release to come back to work. No ifs, ands, or buts. And document every single absence. You can get rid of employees with bad attendence records, even if they are claiming that they are sick. If they are not under a doctor's care and don't have written excuses for not being at work, that absence is unexcused and too many of them can put your job in jeapordy. I have gotten rid of a number of employees over the years due to poor attendence records, and have not once had to pay UE for them. You need to set the standard and make an example out of someone, or this thing will continue. Unless you stop this now, you will never have a realible crew.
And I don't buy that kids are sicker nowadays. It wasn't that long ago that I was in my 20's. The environment hasn't changed that much, and if it has then why is it only affecting the younger crowd. It's more about personal responsibility. If I got sick, because of my lifestyle (work hard, play even harder) then I suffered through it at work, knowing I did it to myself. Many of the kids I come across nowadays feel it is their right to call off sick if they partied too hard the previous night. Almost weekly I recieve calls from my staff trying to call off because they are "sick". Most often it is the same people who, last night, as they were leaving, were talking about heading to the bars. Sorry, but that upset stomach and headache you have today is not the flu, it's called a hangover, now get to work! I would have to have been on my "deathbed" to call in sick and let my chef and buddies down.