Mondayitis before Australia Day will be poor form not poor health

Thursday 21 January, 2016 | By: Default Admin | Tags: Australia Day, sickies, ABS, unemployment

Staff taking the Monday before Australia Day off as a “sickie”, in order to give themselves a four-day weekend, will cost small businesses more than $100 million.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said workers who “chucked a sickie” on Monday before the public holiday would be showing “poor form”.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said with Queensland’s unemployment rate at 5.8 per cent, workers who were inexplicably absent next week were also taking a “serious risk” with their jobs.

“There are 147,000 Queenslanders out of a job at the moment who would dearly love to be able to earn a living,” Mr Behrens said.

“Any worker who calls in sick on Monday when they’re not should remember there is a person waiting who would happily take that job.”

Mr Behrens said employers across Australia lost more than $33 billion per year to sick leave.

CCIQ estimated the hit to the local economy from Monday's anticipated sickness surge would amount to $102 million.

“The average cost of a worker taking a sick day is an estimated $1300 a week, on top of temporary staff,” he said.

“Additionally, smaller retail and hospitality businesses have just been hit with the Christmas slog of penalty rates payable on public holidays throughout the festive period.

“Within this context, CCIQ encourages employees to use their annual leave on the Monday prior to Australia Day.

“When taking annual leave, employees can have a clear conscience over the Australia Day celebrations.”

Mr Behrens said that with this clear conscience, workers could take a mini-holiday and spend big in local small businesses.

The retail, restaurant and tourism sectors, in particular, would welcome the extra dollars.

“Queensland businesses offer considerable variety, excellent quality and price competitiveness,” he said.

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics confirms that if each employed Queenslander was to spend just an additional $10 per week in local businesses that would amount to an additional $23.5 million circulating in our economy each week or over $1.2 billion each year delivering thousands of new jobs.

“So on this Australia Day, and possibly the longer four-day weekend, CCIQ urges Queenslander’s to buy local and holiday locally.”

Public servants take an extra 1.5 days a year more than their private sector counterparts.

CCIQ said employers and employees needed to be vigilant and take preventive steps to reduce the chances of workplace infections and illness.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that about 25 per cent of sick days were not for genuine reasons,” he said.

“But employers were rarely fooled by Mondayitis -- 75 per cent of bosses believed sick leave taken on a Monday was not genuine.

“In a state with a high unemployment rate, employees who took sickies faced a real risk of losing their job if absenteeism could be proven.”

Workers can be asked to produce a medical certificate if they take Monday off without a valid reason.




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