Planning to extend the Australia Day long weekend with a "sickie" on Friday?
If so, you almost certainly won't be alone. The NSW Business Chamber predicts 173,000 workers will be faking a cough before the long weekend.
It is expected to cost employers more than $36 million, not including the cost of replacement workers and lost productivity.
The chief executive of the chamber, Stephen Cartwright, has warned those thinking of coming down with a 24-hour bug that bosses aren't stupid.
"It's amazing how many people get 'sick' the day before a long weekend but it's an obvious stunt that only serves to damage personal reputations and morale in the workplace," Mr Cartwright said in a statement. "Nobody is fooled by the Friday 'sickie'." Instead, Mr Cartwright urges employees to talk to their boss about extra leave.
People claiming to be sick for an extra long weekend cost businesses across the Murray and Riverina area nearly $50,000 annually, according to the NSW Business Chamber’s regional manager Ben Foley.
He says 5 per cent of the 152,000 workers in the Murray Riverina region take sick days ahead of long weekends.
“Taking a sick day when you don’t need one does you no favours,” Mr Foley said.
“Your job still has to be done if you’re not there, so if you work for a small business that doesn’t have a pool of casual workers to pick up your slack, it could fall to your boss to do your work for you.”
Meanwhile, Peter Strong, the executive director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, said small business employees considering pulling a heart muscle on Friday should think about how they would be affecting their workmates, not to mention the owner.
"The impact on small business is, of course, bigger. If you've only got three workers, the other two are going to have to work much harder," he said.
"We need to stop and look at this and make sure we're not developing a culture of sickies around long weekends."