Check all’s well on sick leave
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.