ALL HANDS ON DECK: The NSW Business Chamber conservatively estimates there could be an additional 173,000 “sickies” on Friday at a cost of at least $36 million to employers.
ALL HANDS ON DECK: The NSW Business Chamber conservatively estimates there could be an additional 173,000 “sickies” on Friday at a cost of at least $36 million to employers.

Don’t throw Oz Day sickie

EMPLOYEES who are considering chucking a "sickie" on Friday to extend their Australia Day long weekend to four days are being asked to give their employers a break instead.

The NSW Business Chamber conservatively estimates that in the lead up to the Monday public holiday, there could be an additional 173,000 "sickies" at a cost of at least $36 million to employers - not including replacement costs and reduced productivity.

Northern NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray urged employees to show some compassion for their employer and ask for leave instead if they were determined to enjoy a four-day break.

Mr Murray said times were tough and bailing out on your employer could not only damage the viability of your own job in the future but also your colleagues, as well as damage your reputation.

"It's amazing how many people get 'sick' the day before a long weekend and for those 'non-genuine' instances it only serves to damage personal reputations and morale in the workplace," Mr Murray said.

He said there had been a tradition among some Australians for a long time to extend their public holidays with sickies, but he urged such people to re-think.

"I would plead to employees who may have seen it as a right that maybe it's time to ....give their employers a break," he said. "The economic conditions are such we need all hands on deck.

"If you're sick and can provide a doctor's certificate, then that's life. But if you want to take extra time off, plan it now and talk to your employer today."

He also encouraged employers to be supportive of leave requests for the long weekend and work with their staff to accommodate them as best they could in their business operation.

The other fraught issue for employers remains the issue of public holiday loading with hospitality employees being paid up to $70 an hour, Mr Murray said.

The number of small businesses that had to remain closed on public holidays as they could not afford to pay staff, was a travesty.



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