Employees keen to use Australia Day to kick-off a four-day weekend are reminded to apply for annual leave for next Friday, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.
James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber, said: “With Australia Day falling on Thursday, many people will want to be off work on Friday to make the most of summer and the last days of school holidays. Australia has many wonderful spots for short breaks, so many people will want to take the opportunity for a long weekend getaway.
“But employees wanting to take an extended break ought to do the right thing: apply for a day of annual leave on Friday rather than claiming a sickie. Misusing sick leave erodes trust in the workplace, puts extra strain on colleagues doing the right thing and leaves people short of sick leave when they genuinely need it.
“Based on experience in past years, the number of people taking sick leave on Friday could be 180,000 people more than a typical workday, costing Australian employers more than $62 million.
“If someone is unexpectedly absent their manager or colleagues will generally need to pick up the extra workload. This isn’t fair – it places a burden on people who are busy doing their own job, and reduces services and extends waiting times for customers and clients.
“Workplaces operate best where there is a high level of trust between managers and staff, but misusing personal leave undermines this trust. Many employers will require staff taking sick leave to provide a medical certificate, a requirement that will become more widely enforced if sick leave is misused.
“Personal leave is an important workplace right, and people who misuse it may find that they have none left when they genuinely need it.
“Of course, not everyone is able to take a long weekend. Across Australia Day and the weekend there will be many people hard at work, including providing the essential services that we all depend on. Many business operators and their staff will also be busy, particularly in retail, hospitality and tourism.
“We thank all these people for their dedication, and hope they enjoy a break at another time of year.
“With Anzac Day also on a Tuesday this year, the issue will raise its head again in April across the country. And Melbourne Cup Days on Tuesdays means that Melburnians grapple with the issue each November.”