Is this the end of the ‘Great Aussie Sickie’?

Bridget Mahon

31 January 2017    |    read

The ‘Great Aussie Sickie’ is becoming a myth in Australian workplaces as the number of Australians cashing in on sick leave for the post-Australia Day long weekend decreases. We recently conducted a survey and found that more employees are opting to take annual leave instead of the stereotypical ‘sickie’. We’d analysed the number of single day leave requests submitted by employees for Friday 27th January. The sample consisted of over 20,000 randomly selected employees from more than 500 Australian businesses, with the majority working in hospitality, retail, quick service restaurants, medical and manufacturing. It was found that sick leave requests for the 27th of January were down 24% on the January median, however, requests for annual leave were up 481% on the 27th compared to other days of the month. This data suggests that Australian’s are giving up on the sickie, opting to follow the rules and take annual leave instead. Potentially saving businesses millions over the Australia Day weekend. Our Co-Founder Alex Ghiculescu was surprised by the findings, saying that “there’s always been this idea that ‘chucking a sickie’ is an integral part of the Australian workplace culture. So it’s surprising to see the opposite occurring after Australia Day.” Ghiculescu said, “I think when employees have access to a system that allows them to view and input their leave for themselves, that they are more likely to use leave allowances correctly.” It is important that businesses have the correct tools and means to manage employee leave accurately and appropriately. When asked about the future of the ‘sickie’ Ghiculescu said, “I think further research into the effects of technology and best business practices would go a long way in helping businesses to manage employee leave in the future.”

The ‘Great Aussie Sickie’ is becoming a myth in Australian workplaces as the number of Australians cashing in on sick leave for the post-Australia Day long weekend decreases.

We recently conducted a survey and found that more employees are opting to take annual leave instead of the stereotypical ‘sickie’.

We’d analysed the number of single day leave requests submitted by employees for Friday 27th January. The sample consisted of over 20,000 randomly selected employees from more than 500 Australian businesses, with the majority working in hospitality, retail, quick service restaurants, medical and manufacturing.

It was found that sick leave requests for the 27th of January were down 24% on the January median, however, requests for annual leave were up 481% on the 27th compared to other days of the month.

This data suggests that Australian’s are giving up on the sickie, opting to follow the rules and take annual leave instead. Potentially saving businesses millions over the Australia Day weekend.

Our Co-Founder Alex Ghiculescu was surprised by the findings, saying that “there’s always been this idea that ‘chucking a sickie’ is an integral part of the Australian workplace culture. So it’s surprising to see the opposite occurring after Australia Day.”

Ghiculescu said, “I think when employees have access to a system that allows them to view and input their leave for themselves, that they are more likely to use leave allowances correctly.” It is important that businesses have the correct tools and means to manage employee leave accurately and appropriately.

When asked about the future of the ‘sickie’ Ghiculescu said, “I think further research into the effects of technology and best business practices would go a long way in helping businesses to manage employee leave in the future.”

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How much do full time staff really cost?

Being in the business of managing staff costs, we often hear people say that casual staff just cost so much more than their full time equivalents. I mean, that extra 25% is a killer, right? Especially for staff who work a fairly consistent schedule each week, it’s almost like free money. For a while there I went along with that, not really giving it much thought. But today the thought struck me – casuals miss out on plenty of benefits afforded to full and part timers, so are they really better off? I decided to investigate further. What follows may surprise you. First – how many days in a year does a full time employee work? Weeks in a Year: 52 Working Days in a Year: 260 So far so good. We’re going to ignore the 1 or 2 days that we’re off by, for the sake of a nice round number. Next, let’s look at this full time employee’s entitlements, in days. Annual Leave: 20 (4 weeks) Personal Leave: 10 (2 weeks) Public Holidays: 10 We’ll assume a 7.6 hour work day and 17.5% leave loading. So how many hours of leave are we paying? Annual Leave – Base: 152 Annual Leave – Loading: 26.6 Personal Leave: 76 Public Holidays: 76 Total Hours of Leave Paid: 330.6 Earlier we calculated how many days of work one can work in a year, now let’s subtract leave taken to get a more accurate figure. Days of Leave Taken: 40 Actual Days Worked in a Year: 220 Actual Hours Worked in a Year: 1672 Divide 330.6 (hours of leave paid) by 1672 (hours worked) and we get 19.77%. Remember, we are comparing this to the 25% loading paid for casual staff. So from this perspective, yes, your full time and part time staff are still cheaper – but only by 5.23%. And even that number is probably on the low side. We ignored long service leave and maternity leave because they are a bit more unreliable. Both they are also costs (or accruals) that can definitely add up! When you take into account the fact that you only have to pay casuals when you need them, it’s easy to see why more and more Australian employers are turning to casual staff. According to the ABS, this has been growing steadily since the 90’s, and today over 1 in 5 jobs in Australia are casual.

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Giving Employee Feedback: 7 Ways to Constructively Deliver Bad News

Wouldn’t management be so much easier if everyone just did their job? You might feel sometimes like your job description would better match that of a babysitter than a business manager. But the sad fact is, unless you provide your staff with proper leadership; productivity, efficiency, morale, and overall quality of work will suffer. Part of effective management is providing your personnel with feedback when they’ve done something incorrectly, or perhaps just less correctly than you would prefer. Ideally, you want to train your workforce to act as you would in a given situation. This takes time, patience, and consistent positive reinforcement. So how can you communicate to your beautiful and unique snowflakes that they’re not meeting your standards without alienating, offending, or irritating them? Here is a list of best practices that can help you deliver a difficult message in ways that will improve employee attitude, engagement, and performance. 1.      Focus on Positives Even if you’ve been stuck with the worst employee in the world, even if they come into work smelling like a Cypress Hill concert in un-ironed slacks made of organic hemp, you’ve got to find a silver lining. To be clear, this doesn’t mean sugar-coating the negatives. It just means balancing criticism with praise. Build employee confidence first, then present avenues for improvement. The thing to remember about creating a harmonious work environment is it begins and ends with being nice. The simplest gestures can prevent resentment, discontentment, and hurt feelings. Keep your employees happy, and you’ll be a much happier manager. 2.      Objectivity This can be tough. It’s important not to let your emotions get in the way of effective management. Subjectivity can get you into all sorts of trouble: favoritism, nepotism, and a plethora of other –isms worth avoiding. A cool head is needed for command decisions, plus your employees will reflect the attitudes you present to them. Come to work angry, and you’re likely to look out and see an office rife with cantankerousness. 3.      Always Deliver Negative Feedback in Person It’s a busy day, you hear a bad report, and you want to get it handled quickly. So you just shoot of an email with a textual reprimand. A very tempting scenario, but not the best idea. People can read into messages more or less than you intend. If there’s a problem with an employee important enough for you to respond personally, then it’s important enough to respond to it in person. 4.      Time your Feedback Correctly Timing is everything. You have to take the opportune moment. For minor infractions, or something of a sensitive nature, a (conflict between employees for example) allow a bit of time to pass so that tempers might cool before addressing the situation. Similarly, don’t call an employee out in front of their peers. Wait for the right moment, when they’re not under scrutiny, to approach. You don’t want to embarrass an employee, and you never know what can get the blood running to someone’s cheeks. 5.      Location, Location, Location Along the same lines as timing, the location of a performance review can have a great impact on how receptive an employee might be to your suggestions. Go to an empty conference room, any neutral ground will do. 6.      Pay Attention to How You’re Being Perceived This means watching your phrasing and body language. Present problems in a sympathetic light, and avoid negative syntax: “I don’t think… You shouldn’t… This isn’t…” Maintain eye contact, without being creepy. Keep gesticulations, mannerisms, and movements calm and casual. Aggression is an animal instinct, don’t release the beast during a performance review. 7.      Be Clear With Your Criticisms, Leave No Room for Interpretation Convey your meaning quickly, clearly, and without ambiguity. Be direct with your employees, let them know exactly what you disapprove of, how they can improve, and if there’s a need for it: a warning as to what continued instances of the undesired behavior will result in. Alternatively, reinforce desired actions. If they’ve done anything right at all, mention it, and offer praise. Building an effective team is a complicated process, but armed with common sense and a healthy dose of positivity, you can put together an office environment that runs like a well-oiled machine.

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Tanda hits 1 Million clock ins!

Tanda has ticked over to 1 MIllion Clock-Ins! That is a lot of people showing up for work. And though we may gripe and grumble about the daily grind, one million clock-ins is something we want you to celebrate with the whole team at Tanda. Tanda has been here to help you. We have helped you make payroll simple and easy. We have helped you make time theft and wasted hours of figuring out award rates a thing of the past. But today Tanda wants to acknowledge someone else in this ever-growing time and attendance tool. We want to focus on YOU. One million clock-ins on our successful cloud-based software might seem like an intangible concept. Instead, we’d like you to think of it more as an in-Tanda-ble concept. That’s people getting up early to clock in so you have your morning coffee. That’s childcare workers all over Australia clocking in to make sure your children get the best start in early learning. That’s certified companies like Subway, Nike and Telstra moving forward in the constantly changing systems of business, time and attendance. But more importantly in many ways, that’s small businesses and the backbone of Australian industries moving forward with them too. Tanda ensures no one gets left behind, and no time or attendance goes amiss for those 1 million of you who have clocked in. Though we can’t celebrate this achievement with each and everyone of you in your office, restaurant, childcare centre, hotel or whatever space it is you run your business in, we can still thank you all here from Tanda HQ. This video isn’t much, but its a small demonstration of how excited we are for all of you. Keep up to date with more exciting news from Tanda by heading to our Facebook page and giving us the old thumbs up at https://www.facebook.com/TandaHQ or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more surprises to come.  

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About the author

Bridget Mahon

Bridget was a former Marketing Communications Officer for Tanda.

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Awards & Rostering

How much do full time staff really cost?

Being in the business of managing staff costs, we often hear people say that casual staff just cost so much more than their full time equivalents. I mean, that extra 25% is a killer, right? Especially for staff who work a fairly consistent schedule each week, it’s almost like free money. For a while there […]

Industry Insights

Giving Employee Feedback: 7 Ways to Constructively Deliver Bad News

Wouldn’t management be so much easier if everyone just did their job? You might feel sometimes like your job description would better match that of a babysitter than a business manager. But the sad fact is, unless you provide your staff with proper leadership; productivity, efficiency, morale, and overall quality of work will suffer. Part […]

Awards & Rostering Events & Media Product Updates

Tanda hits 1 Million clock ins!

Tanda has ticked over to 1 MIllion Clock-Ins! That is a lot of people showing up for work. And though we may gripe and grumble about the daily grind, one million clock-ins is something we want you to celebrate with the whole team at Tanda. Tanda has been here to help you. We have helped […]

More Resources

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