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Public holiday sickies may cost millions

A crowd of people at the beach on a sunny day
Many Australians say they have called in sick from work to go to the beach according to research

As the one off national public holiday to mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II falls this Thursday 22nd September it's been estimated the Friday after may be a very popular day for many working Australian's to call in sick and make a long weekend of it.

New research from Finder reveals that it's likely there will be a spike in absenteeism by many Australians on Friday 23rd with the potential to cost the employers more than $461 million in lost productivity.

A new nationally representative survey of 1,060 respondents revealed 1 in 8 (13%) Australians – equivalent to 1.7 million workers – have called in sick for a non-health related reason so far this year, at a cost of about $354 per worker, per day.


Taylor Blackburn, personal finance specialist at Finder, said employers could be facing a spike in absenteeism this Friday.

“Workers are trying to take advantage of the bonus public holiday by turning it into an extra long weekend.This is how Black Friday got its name in the US – with the Thanksgiving holiday always on Thursday, many workers would not come in on the Friday – hence it was a dark day for owners,” he said.

The reasons Australian workers are calling in sick

16% of those surveyed said they have called in sick to have a mental health day, while 13% said they had done so to have a day off.

Others said they had called in unwell in order to look after a pet, go shopping or even go to the beach.

Blackburn says that with the huge shift to at-home work in the past few years, it’s increasingly easy to avoid chucking a sickie when you aren’t 100 percent and still be productive.

“The best remedy for absenteeism is creating a supportive culture where employees know their contributions are valued.People do their best work if they’re genuinely supported – as a whole person and not just a worker – and love the work they do."

Thursday's one off public holiday to officially mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II has been applauded by some happy to have a day off work but has been criticised by others including small business owners, medical professionals and contract workers who all will be impacted by the last minute day off.

Centrelink payments and reporting dates may change due to the upcoming public holiday to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Centrelink offices will be closed on Thursday, September 22 for the National Day of Mourning, and Services Australia is warning the closures may impact some people for the day.

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