Celebrate Australia Day the best way: in Queensland and guilt-free

Wednesday 25 January, 2017 | By: Default Admin | Tags: Australia Day, sickie, annual leave

With Thursday’s Australia Day being a public holiday, it’s no surprise that many Queenslanders will seize the opportunity for a four-day weekend.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) urges employees to take annual leave on Friday to enjoy Queensland’s beautiful summer weather.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has estimated that 180,000 workers nationally are expected to “chuck a sickie” at a cost to Australian businesses of around $62 million.

For Queensland businesses, this could equate to 40,000 "sickies" and a cost impact of over $12 million.

CCIQ Senior Policy Advisor Catherine Pham said people have earned their right to annual leave and applying for leave on Friday should not be an issue.

“Australians and particularly Queenslanders have a strong reputation for working hard. They have absolutely deserved their annual leave and most business owners would be fine with letting them use it this Friday - a much better alternative to using unmerited sick leave," she said.

"Taking a sickie could actually cost an employee more than they think. If the employer has lost trust in their staff, there could be implications far worse for the employee than if they had just simply applied for leave.”

Ms Pham believes that taking a sickie should be considered “un-Australian” despite recent social commentary.

“Some people suggested taking a sickie was something Australians do. We absolutely refute that. What we consider un-Australian is burdening those who are working on Friday with an additional workload due to an unplanned absence, and being dishonest to your employer when it really isn’t necessary.

“However, it’s also not fair to not recognise that most employees are in fact doing the right thing and taking leave on Friday.

“On behalf of all businesses, we are thankful and sincerely hope they enjoy their time off.”

CCIQ wishes all Queenslanders a Happy Australia Day, to stay safe and enjoy what our State has to offer.

ACCI CEO James Pearson said: “With Australia Day falling on Thursday, many people will want to be off work on Friday to make the most of summer and the last days of school holidays.

“Based on experience in past years, the number of people taking sick leave on Friday could be 180,000 people more than a typical workday, costing Australian employers more than $62 million.

“If someone is unexpectedly absent their manager or colleagues will generally need to pick up the extra workload. This isn’t fair – it places a burden on people who are busy doing their own job, and reduces services and extends waiting times for customers and clients.

“Workplaces operate best where there is a high level of trust between managers and staff, but misusing personal leave undermines this trust. Many employers will require staff taking sick leave to provide a medical certificate, a requirement that will become more widely enforced if sick leave is misused.

“Personal leave is an important workplace right, and people who misuse it may find that they have none left when they genuinely need it.

“Of course, not everyone is able to take a long weekend. Across Australia Day and the weekend there will be many people hard at work, including providing the essential services that we all depend on. Many business operators and their staff will also be busy, particularly in retail, hospitality and tourism."

Mr Pearson noted that with  Anzac Day also on a Tuesday this year, the issue will raise its head again in April across the country.

So get in early, book annual leave for Monday April 24.


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