Winter Waggers: Peak season to call in sick [in the media]

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Every work day 300,000 Aussie workers will take a ‘sickie,’ with 1 in 20 full-time employees in Australia off sick. While chucking a sickie has become a solid tradition for many, whether to extend a long weekend or simply because employees don’t feel up to a day at work, these absences are costing Australian businesses 100 million dollars per day.

Gone are the days when workers proudly boasted of never having taken a sick day in their working life, with ‘doona days’ now seen to be a right claimed by most Australians.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle explores worker absenteeism on Channel 7’s Morning Show and discusses whether work sick day policies are in need of an overhaul or if indeed staying home when feeling slightly unwell may actually be better for everyone. Although sick days lead to 28 billion dollars of lost productivity, coming to work sick may cause far more harm to colleagues and an exponential loss to team productivity.

Mark McCrindle states, “Worse than chucking a sickie when it’s not legitimate is turning up to work when a sick day would be warranted. Particularly in this era of the open plan office with hot-desking, people are moving and sharing a lot more and there’s more interaction than we used to have. You’ve also got the air conditioning which can spread illness amongst the whole team more quickly than in the past”.

Gen Ys are leading the ‘sickie’ charge. “You do find that with the younger generation, they are taking more sick leave then you would expect young people to have,” Mark explains. The perception of a stoic older generation rings true in regards to sick days. “If you look at the general population, older people have the highest sickness incidents and younger people are healthier, but in the workplace it’s the opposite actually. And younger people are taking more sick days than you would expect. Partly that’s because they’re “chucking a sickie.”

Watch the latest segment and let us know what you think – should Aussies just ‘suck it up’ and go to work or be on the cautious side of things and take that ‘sickie’?

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