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Plan to avoid staff shortages after Australia Day

Not too long until Australia Day brings in a long weekend, but how can small businesses avoid staff shortages and possible shutdown?

Small break, big cost

Chucking a sickie on the day before or after the public holiday might seem innocent enough, but the Australian Chamber of Commerce warned that 180,000 fake sick days were taken at a cost of about $62m.

The key to keeping employees at work is clear lines of communication. Set the expectation that you recognise people might want to extend the weekend and offer to be flexible with holiday requests or offer alternative days off.

Small businesses experienced similar pains when Anzac Day last year fell on a Tuesday – and more people than usual phoned in sick the day before!

Tips on managing sickies

Our HR experts have some top tips on how to clamp down on the fakers this Australia Day:

  • Remind staff before the holidays of how to report sickness – Make it clear that being hungover is not a valid reason to not turn up, and ensure your employees know that ‘I didn’t know who to ring, so I just didn’t turn up’ isn’t an excuse. If managers are away for longer weekends on Australia Day, make sure there’s a clear policy of who they should report to and how to inform them they are sick.
  • Book in a ‘return to work’ meeting – If staff are off sick, check in when they return. You can ask them about their illness, how it was treated and if there are any adjustments needed to help them ease back into work.
  • Check social media – If someone phones in sick and then checks in online at the nearest bar, chances are they might be faking it. Seeing if they went out for the day or suddenly felt well enough to go out partying can go some way to provide evidence for an investigation.

The HR Dept can help you overcome sickies

Sickness is a part of the workplace and people are human and come down with illnesses. But hopefully these tips will go some way to help you reduce the number of fake sickies pulled this Australia Day.

If you need help on how to investigate or discipline staff that might be faking it, get in touch.