Opinion

Don’t sweat it over a sickie

I HAD to laugh at a story in the news this week, which came up with the stunning finding that the average Australian worker was not only using most of their allocated sick leave, but possibly chucking the odd "sickie" too.

According to this mind-blowing report from a so-called "absence management agency", the practice of either staying home sick or calling in sick and then going fishing is a source of great frustration for employers.

I'm sure they would rather have armies of machines working for them so that they would never have to worry about budgeting for sick or annual leave - or sleep for that matter - leaving more money to funnel into the CEO's great-great-great grand-children's university fund.

It is reports like these that fill my heart with so much sorrow for the poor employers of Australia, constantly worrying themselves silly about whether Karen was really suffering the flu last Tuesday or just bunging it on so she could spend a day working on her tan.

If only there was some way they could collectively stamp out the human need for a life outside of work - perhaps some kind of government scheme whereby anyone not born into a well-to-do family is sterilised, thereby eliminating their ability to start a family and reducing the desire to ever leave their designated work station.

And why does Australia have to be such a good place to live, with lovely beaches and rainforests?

Such things only serve as a distraction from the important business of uninterrupted productivity.

What is the world coming to?

According to the CEO of the illustrious "absence management agency", we Australians have an "entitlement culture" when it comes to taking sickies.

So, even though you might be allocated 10 paid sick days a year, you'd better not take a single one of them unless you are suffering from leprosy, Ebola or malaria - and even then you'd better get back to work the second you're off the life-support machines.

In all seriousness, how much of un-Australian nit-wit would you have to be to start a company that promotes itself as being able to reduce the proud Aussie tradition of the sickie by 40%?

Even more importantly, what are they doing to achieve such a turnaround? Free beer? Christmas bonuses? Better pay?

What these party-poopers don't seem to understand is that there is great skill involved in chucking a sickie.

It's not easy to sound crook as a dog when you are secretly jumping for joy at the day of freedom you are about to indulge in.

That feeling of guilt as soon as you hang up the phone ain't so nice either. Did they know I was faking it?

It's no wonder that some people spend years perfecting the art.

Here's another idea: A high rate of absenteeism might point to the possibility that your business isn't very good to work for.

So instead of attacking the problem like a Nazi - constantly monitoring employees in an effort to discourage them from taking sick leave at all - take some time to reflect on how you could make your workplace a little bit less repulsive.

Either way, try not to sweat too much over the common Australian worker's predilection for the sickie.

Ten days out of a year is a drop in the pond compared to all those perfect, sunny days that us working stiffs spend slaving away in a factory, an office or on some dusty construction site - so what's the great shame if a couple of those days might be spent relaxing by the pool trying to dissolve the stress that work has caused you.

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