Australia Day sickies: How to deal with a nationwide problem

by Stephanie Zillman24 Jan 2013

The sickie. It’s the antithesis of productivity and the enemy of employers around the country. To the delight of employees, and groans of employers, this coming weekend will see Australia Day fall on Saturday, and Monday is therefore a public holiday.

According to the NSW Business Chamber, tomorrow employers will encounter some additional 173,000 sick days, at a cost of $36m. The peak business body is urging employers to take a tough stance on sickies, and communicate that not legitimate sick leave can leave them in the lurch.

“It's amazing how many people get 'sick' the day before a long weekend, but it's an obvious stunt that only serves to damage personal reputations and morale in the workplace," CEO Stephen Cartwright said.

Employers are encouraged to communicate a willingness to approve leave requests either side of the long weekend where possible, he said, as this will minimise ‘sickies’.

So what does chucking a sickie say about a mortgage broker’s career prospects? In short, a career change may be on the cards.

Psychometric testing company Onetest surveyed some 2,851 Australian graduate program applicants across a range of industries, and among their findings, identified a strong relationship between the rate of sickies taken and the dissatisfaction an individual had with the industry in which they work.

“We found that participants who reported feeling dissatisfied with life were 48% more likely to ‘chuck a sickie’ compared to those who were satisfied with life,” Onetest head of psychology, Cherie Curtis, said.

Employees in the environmental industry and marketing and sales professions reported taking the most number of non-genuine sick days (0.43 per year on average), while employees of the defence industry reported taking the least number of non-genuine sick days (0.14). Banking and finance recorded a mid-table score of 0.28.