I was somewhat perplexed by the recent announcement in the West Australian about employee absenteeism set to cost Australia billions of dollars over the holiday season. Once again failing to differentiate between employee entitlements by bullying the workforce into submission to fight over what is rightfully theirs under The Fairwork Act. Sure there are those who take it too far when it comes to their sick leave and one could equally argue that employers bullying in the workforce is costing exorbitant amounts of dollars, but going back to employee entitlements, full-time employees are entitled to 10 days carers leave and employers need to be prepared by factoring this into their workforce planning.
But who are we kidding? Lets get to the real issue of why Australia has such a high record of employee absenteeism. Firstly, its poor treatment of staff. Most people if treated fairly are less likely to chuck the so called sickies. The other problem is that management fails to do their job in performance managing or genuinely investigating the circumstances of those who do take prolonged amounts of sick leave which is a clear disregard to their responsibility.
Sure each and every one of us has a responsibility to be respectful and honest about their circumstances but I would argue that employers have more influence over their employees and should take an active role in treating their staff respectfully/fairly and performance managing their staff on a regular basis. Whether to address an issue or to commend a job well done.
Management needs to wake up and realise it is not sustainable to have one rule for management and another for the rest of the organisation. Imposing such rules has harsh consequences which only corrupts and breeds a disengaged workforce, in turn costing billions of dollars in lost productivity due to lack of staff engagement. It’s time for employers to get real and walk their talk by being respectful and honest to their employees by being clear, transparent and accountable. Those organisations which get these critical attributes right will never have to worry about an employee being misleading or dishonest about their sick leave.