Wagging work

No danger of men at work - mafleenThe sick day is a venerable institution for those who need to earn a living. It is a privilege provided by employers to financially assist workers who would otherwise be forced to sacrifice wages when they are too ill to attend the workplace.

But there’s hardly a worker alive who does not see sickies as an entitlement to get them through days when work just seems way too horrible to contemplate. Sure, plenty of sick leave is used when people truly are unwell. Yet there are many of us who secretly believe that sickies should only be used when you are well enough to really enjoy them.

We are the people who are costing ‘the system’ a fortune. For example, the cost of sickies in Australia – a nation of a mere 22 million with a workforce correspondingly smaller than that – is estimated at a staggering $28 billion! The statistics gnomes say that is $2861 per employee.

And, if you think that is incredibly slack, consider that we are 25% BETTER than Brits and Yanks in terms of sickies taken per year. Shame on you people!

Perhaps we Aussies are developing a guilty conscience, though, because we are reducing our burden on bosses. We have cut back workplace absences from 9.3 to 8.75 days a year.

Public servants are unquestionably slack, taking 10.3 days a year while telecommunications workers clearly regard work as getting in the road of their leisure because they slack-off on average, 13.1 days a year.

Mind you, bosses have got a lot more antsy about this issue and now track patterns of sickies. So, if you have a preference for Mondays and Fridays off, they may take remedial action to put you on notice.

But their psychological ploys are starting to get much more Machiavellian.  A new style of health management firm is providing larger employers with nurses and consultants to take workers’ “I won’t be in today” calls.  Nor will they let employees just leave a message or send an SMS.

Fortunately, the zero-tolerance approach of demanding a medical certificate for even one day’s absence has not permeated the workplace yet. But, like the flu, it appears to be spreading.

Acknowledgement: photo by mafleen