Businesses not fooled by Australia Day sickie spike

Planning a big one on Australia Day? Don't forget you have to rock up to work on Friday.
Planning a big one on Australia Day? Don't forget you have to rock up to work on Friday.

We know what you’re thinking.

Australia Day falls on Thursday this year and you didn’t plan ahead – and now chucking a sickie on the Friday looks like a tempting option to stretch out a four-day weekend.

But the state’s peak business organisation is onto you.

The NSW Business Chamber wants you to know employers and work colleagues will not be fooled by this year’s post Australia Day celebratory sickies.

Murray-Riverina NSW Business Chamber regional manager Ben Foley said anyone feigning illness on Friday risked damaging their professional reputation.

“At this time of year, every year, our membership advice line receives an increase in calls from employers concerned about their employees breaching leave policies,” Mr Foley said.

“Nobody is fooled by the long weekend sickie.”

The business chamber is encouraging workers to do the right thing by their work mates by using leave.

“I’d encourage employers to be supportive of leave requests for the long weekend and work with their staff to accommodate these requests as best they can in their business operation,” Mr Foley said.

“Having a clear policy helps to communicate expectations to staff as well as enable managers to take appropriate action when workers are in breach.”

Small business owner Stewart Cook said the key to avoiding unexpected sick days after a public holiday leading into a weekend was to plan well ahead.

The co-owner of the cafe, Infuso, said rosters at his work were done months in advance.

“We’ve never been affected (by the issue),” Mr Cook said. “We look ahead and try to do it all fairly.”

He said the public holiday fell at the right time this year.

“My qualified chef has every Friday off anyway,” Mr Cook said.

Up to 180,000 workers nationwide were predicted to take a sick day off on the Monday before Australia Day last year, which fell on a Tuesday.