Check all’s well on sick leave

Geelong Advertiser - - BUSINESS BEAT -

Em­ploy­ees can take per­sonal/carer’s leave if they, or an im­me­di­ate fam­ily or house­hold mem­ber is sick, in­jured or has an un­ex­pected emer­gency.

The Na­tional Em­ploy­ment Stan­dards re­quire that em­ploy­ees give the boss no­tice of their leave as soon as prac­ti­ca­ble and they must also ad­vise you of how long they’re ex­pect­ing to be away from work. An em­ployer is quite within their rights to ask for a med­i­cal cer­tifi­cate as well.

We’d all agree that when some­one is ill we don’t need mar­tyrs in the of­fice in­fect­ing the en­tire work­force, but we do need em­ploy­ees to un­der­stand that sick leave is an en­ti­tle­ment not to be mis­used.

Pulling a sickie at the height of the flu sea­son just be­cause you can fake a very im­pres­sive cough and you have un­used sick leave just sit­ting there isn’t as un­usual as we might like to think it is.

As an em­ployer, if you think some­one might be stretch­ing the truth, it’s worth spend­ing some time mak­ing your em­ployee aware of the ap­pro­pri­ate use of sick days and more im­por­tantly, sit­ting down and hav­ing a chat to find out what’s re­ally go­ing on and why they don’t want to be at work.

Make it clear you are wor- ried about the real rea­son for their ab­sences and the im­pact it is hav­ing on their per­for­mance and the busi­ness as a whole.

And speak­ing of the great Aus­tralian “sickie”, ac­cord­ing to data from ab­sence man­age­ment firm Di­rect Health So­lu­tions, Tues­day is the most com­mon day for Aus­tralians to be off work sick, with Mon­day the sec­ond high­est.

In­ter­est­ingly, they found Fri­days to be the least likely day for em­ploy­ees to take to their bed or couch. Per­haps there’s an in­cen­tive in Fri­day “wine o’clock”?

Other re­search shows that more peo­ple take sick leave on the days im­me­di­ately be­fore and af­ter Aus­tralia Day than any other time of year.

In 2016, a re­port sug­gested close to 200,000 peo­ple were ex­pected to call in sick on the Mon­day be­fore Aus­tralia Day, cost­ing the coun­try tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in lost pro­duc­tiv­ity. Mon­dayi­tis can cost small busi­ness big time.

Af­ter all, as well as en­sur­ing our teams en­joy the 13 pub­lic hol­i­days and four weeks of an­nual leave they are en­ti­tled to, as small busi­nesses we don’t want or need to pay for an­other two weeks of leave un­less it is fair and rea­son­able.

We need to think about why sick leave was in­vented in the first place, and that is that when you are sick you’re not go­ing to miss out on wages in those pe­ri­ods where you are gen­uinely un­well.

Fi­nally back to the flu: vac­ci­na­tions are now avail­able through gen­eral prac­tices, phar­ma­cies, com­mu­nity health clin­ics and some work­places and schools.

Many of Aus­tralia’s larger em­ploy­ers are of­fer­ing their em­ploy­ees flu in­jec­tions, so have a think about whether it might be a good in­sur­ance to of­fer those vac­ci­na­tions to your staff as well.

GOOD IN­SUR­ANCE: Em­ploy­ers should of­fer flu vac­ci­na­tions for staff.

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