Businesses impacted by ‘sick’ employees during holiday periods

- June 4, 2019 2 MIN READ

In what probably comes as no surprise to anyone, the Australian Payroll Association (APA)has revealed sick leave increases around public holidays. 86 per cent of organisations are impacted by the issue with large companies most severely hampered.

The APA surveyed 601 payroll managers across the nation to gauge the frequency of employee sick leave around public holidays, including last Easter and Anzac Day, as well as the Christmas holiday break.

Eight-six (86) per cent of payroll managers admitted that at least 1 per cent of employees take a sick day at their organisation before or after public holidays. Forty-seven per cent said at least 5 per cent of employees generally take a sick day, and 18 per cent said at least 10 per cent of employees take a sick day.

The larger the business, the more likely an employee was to take sick leave. The problem was particularly acute over the last Easter and Anzac Day period, with 26 per cent of organisations seeing at least 10 per cent of their staff taking sick leave during this period.

Those employed in education (94 percent) and retail (89 per cent) were most likely to take a sick day around a public holiday

The most common reasons given for taking a sick day – gastro and vomiting

Tracy Angwin, CEO of the Australian Payroll Association, says many employees are taking sick leave as an entitlement rather than for its real purpose.

“Sick leave – now classified as personal/carer’s leave – gives each employee 10 days of paid leave a year. This entitlement is specifically for unplanned personal illness or injury that leaves the employee unfit to work. It excludes days off for elective surgery, planned medical procedures, or sick pets, which should be taken as annual leave,” Angwin said.

“Carer’s leave is part of the 10-day paid entitlement. It can only be used if an employee is required to look after a sick immediate family or household member: their spouse, de factor partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling (including the equivalent in blended families), or any household member.”


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