Employment law consultancy Employsure recently conducted research by questioning 534 Australian workers. I must say the results of this research are rather interesting. 54% of Australian workers admit to falsifying sick days in the last 12 months. 73% of those admit they do not feel guilty. Whilst 82% of employees who take sickie days say they will do it again. I bet many of you will be summoned to explain yourselves when your bosses read this.
Edward Mallett, managing director of Employsure said “Workers who lie about being ill should be disciplined by their employer; it’s as simple as that. Workers should also take into consideration that their actions can have consequences, it adds extra workload to colleagues especially if the company is a small business.”
“Employers should implement return to work interviews, as soon as the employee returns question them on the reasoning to being off work sick, you also, as an employer need to ensure that they are fit enough to return to work. Return to work interviews help deter employees from taking fraudulent says off work. They know you are serious about the issue and so if they are to be questioned when they return then it will help deter them from taking time off work.”
Why do many Australian workers falsely call in sick?
Mallett continues, “The other defence is that management is to blame for high levels of sick leave, rather than the workers. The theory being that happy workers do not take sickies. But, that would mean that the average Australian workplace is an unhappy one, which seems like a broad brush to apply. The problem is further highlighted when you look overseas. In the UK last year, the average number of days off through illness was under 4.5, less than half that of Australia.”
“Given that there is no real difference in the standard of health between the UK and Australia, the only logical explanation seems to be cultural. Aussies are more inclined to pull a sickie than the Poms. Before labelling the Australian working population as a bunch of whingers who need to “toughen up”, it is worth looking to see whether there is any other background reason for the level of absenteeism.”
Mallett concludes, “Curiously, the amount of sick leave taken fits almost precisely with the amount of paid leave that the legislation provides. Under the Fair Work Act 2009, 10 days paid personal leave is permitted, against the 9.4 days taken. Coincidence? Unlikely. UK legislation is far less generous, which may well explain why people are less inclined to take time off. So, it seems the government is to blame. The working Aussie is not a whinger, just sensible enough to take up what the government gives them.”
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