When the production workers at Custom Components Inc. routinely used up their allotted two weeks of sick time, Charles Blaine realized that he had a problem. "We were just wiped out with people taking the full 10 days," says Blaine, president of the $1-million semiconductor components manufacturer. "I'll bet 90% of it was Mondays, too."

Custom Components now has a sick-time policy wherein workers get six paid days of medical leave, but may be asked to produce a doctor's letter to justify the time off. The carrot in the deal is that workers with good attendance records can receive up to 15 days of extra pay when the records are tabulated at year's end. Says Blaine, who allows workers two hours leeway before he registers them absent, "It's been absolutely phenomenal in cutting down time off and the Monday-morning blues."