You wouldn’t be Australian if you didn’t chuck the odd sickie now and then right?  This might be tempting for your employees with Australia day falling on a Thursday this year.  With the weather forecast for a glorious 24 degrees on Australia Day following through to next week it may leave many employees wanting to extend their time off and have a 4 day weekend.

So what does this mean for you as a business owner?

Well, according to Direct Health Solutions, sick leave is set to rise from the average 3.5% of workers to 5% this Friday.  This will have an estimated cost of 62 million for Aussie businesses.  STRUTH!!!

Not only does this have a financial impact to your business (let’s not forget having to shell out all the extra dollars in overtime rates to cover the workload) but also how this affects the morale and culture of your business through sales, customer service and additional stresses on your employees.

Employers need to plan in advance for such events to ensure minimal impact to your business.

One suggestion is to adopt a system such as first in best dressed or a rotating leave system so it is fair to all staff if your business can not close for the day.

At Hr Gurus we also strongly advise that you have a robust Leave Policy.  This policy should outline that employee’s require a medical certificate for a sick day either side of a Public holiday.

Finally you may want to enforce a compulsory shutdown.  Employees can be directed to take annual leave if their Award or Registered Agreement allows it.  Your Award or Registered Agreement can be found at This is a great way to schedule your resources more efficiently based on business requirements. We also strongly suggest that you cover off forced shutdowns in your Employee Handbook, Contract of employment or Policy.

It’s not too late to have a discussion with your employees today about your expectations for Friday. A quick email out to everyone reminding them about your requirements around substantiation would not go astray!

Some bonza tips for curbing the number of sickies you have this Australia day are…

  1. Offer employees the option to take an annual leave day or a day in lieu – great way to reduce your leave liabilities
  2. Use of flexitime for employees to take the day off if possible
  3. Enforce a compulsory shutdown – check your relevant Award or Registered Agreement – You can call us if you need help!
  4. Offer a late start or have employees work a half day
  5. Remind employees that all absences prior to or after Aussie Day will require a medical certificate – have an airtight Leave Policy
  6. Hold a fun Aussie Day BBQ on the Friday with a dress up theme and street Cricket game for some added fun
  7. Hold an Aussie day themed breakfast – this will give employees a gentle nudge to come into work on time
  8. Offer an incentive to employees who do not call in sick on the day after Australia Day
  9. Run a competition on Aussie Day that is fun and where employees can win an awesome prize that is worth a substantial amount of money!
  10. Have some extra special knock off drinks on Friday Arvo with some Fosters thrown in for good measure

And remember, Anzac day falls on a Tuesday this year so start planning now for that one!

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