Tom Caru wants to change the name and the very nature of the good ol’ Australian sickie…what if we started calling it a “healthie” instead?
The character of Australian workers has recently been under scrutiny due to a survey by an absence management agency, who reported that workers “chucking a sickie” is costing employers $33 billion each year.
The number of absences was, in part, explained by “legitimate” reasons like unexpected illness, carer’s leave or being shirtfronted by Russian warships.
However, the survey surmised that over 50% of employee absences were a result of “pulling a sickie” and one spokesman (and the media) linked this to a supposed “entitlement mentality”.
Yet this writer, while sitting at a set of traffic lights on his way to work (and not chucking a sickie) heard another recent report on the radio, which revealed that Australian workers are working unpaid overtime totalling almost $110 billion each year.
Now I haven’t studied mathematics in over ten years (so feel free to vet my figures with your smartphone) and while I note that there is an “almost” slotted in there before the ONE HUNDRED AND TEN BILLION DOLLARS, it seems to me that even if you were to subtract one whole billion for the “almost” (#generous) and round the total down to $109 Billion, then minus the $33 billion worth of leave (for sickies and surprise Kim Kardashian appearances at shopping malls) that still leaves $76 billion dollars worth of work hours to which Australians do not feel entitled.
………………..A more significant pause………………..
Work life balance is hard. The struggle is real and Australians are losing ground. Whether it is time to exercise, prepare healthier meals or any manner of mental practice to combat stress, our personal health needs are often the last of our concerns to receive attention. Unfortunately, we can’t rewind the clock and design a calendar that would make this any easier.
Want to make matters worse? Get the media to run a bunch of stories about the untrustworthiness of your employees. About how, even though they are not taking all their sick leave (only 10 days a year), a percentage of the leave they do take could be illegitimate.
Haven’t they heard of holistic health factors? I am sure there is a survey or a report published somewhere. If seeing Kim Kardashian shop at Chadstone is going to help you unwind, I say go for it.
Maybe the issue has a simple fix; give sick leave a new name. Call it “health leave”.
Suddenly, the term allows for a whole new spectrum of legitimacy. Surely people should be allowed (and encouraged) to use 10 days a year for preventative health measures not just reactionary ones?
Especially when they are already working almost $110 billion in unpaid overtime.
I know this might seem like a small thing and maybe it is. However, all the little things we let slide keep moving by and eventually pile-up down the line and become the status quo.
To celebrate being a year old we want you, the readers, to help us decide the articles you loved best during our first year – and to encourage you to participate, we are giving away three prizes!
All you have to do is look through our archives of content and email us your favourite article – and also if you want, the one you weren’t so up with. From the submissions, we will assess the most-loved content from our first year and republish it at the end of our birthday month.
Both writers and readers are encouraged to enter (no, Paris, you cannot nominate your own articles…#justsaying), so please email us at [email protected] by Nov 30 to enter! Please include your name, address and mobile number.
And the prizes are…(did we mention there are prizes…?)
First prize: A brilliant acting course based in Sydney and hosted by Darlo Drama worth $550!
Second prize: A gift pack from our friends at Booktopia
Third prize: Four movie passes
(Plus watch out for a couple of other competitions during our birthday month!)