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Home BUSINESSAustralian worker absenteeism hits seven-year low but still costs economy billions
Fri, 06 Nov, 2015 12:00:15 AM
FTimes- Xinhua Report Nov. 06
The Great Australian pastime of chucking a "sickie",  pretending to be sick to take the day off work,  is on the decline, with worker absenteeism hitting a seven-year low.
     Direct Health Solutions, a niche company employed by businesses to reduce the collective number of absences, surveyed 220,000 public and private sector workers at 97 participating organizations.
     From the survey, Thursday's report estimated absenteeism cost Australia's economy 23.2 billion U.S. dollars, or 2,130 dollars, per worker, through losing wages and productivity over the course of the 2014/15 financial year.
     However, that figure is in decline with the survey which also revealed the average worker was taking 8.6 sick-days each year, the lowest amount in seven years.
     In 2013/14, the average was 9.6 sick days per person.
     In Australia, workers have sick days, in which they get paid leave, written into their full-time contracts, but these "entitlements" have been abused for years with staff taking a day off despite not being ill.
     The reasons offered by workers to bosses, according to the survey, for their unexpected absence ranged from ,in order of likelihood, carers leave, general sickness, "chucking a sickie" and mental health issues.
     ACTU President Ged Kearney defended the amount of days Australian workers were claiming.
     "Paid sick leave is an integral part of working conditions in Australia and is vital to ensure that workers can effectively manage their own health as well as the health of their families without suffering financially," Kearney told Fairfax Media on Thursday.
     Monday was Australian workers' favorite day to indulge in a "sicky", with employees almost twice as likely to take a day off on the first day of the working week (40 percent) than any other day.
     Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Western Australia returned the highest rates of absenteeism in the country. 
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