Which country takes the most 'sickies'?

by Chloe Taylor06 Oct 2015
According to a survey by Direct Health Solutions, Australian employees are taking almost ten sick days per year.

This is costing organisations around the country $3,230 per employee, and a record $33bn in payroll costs and lost productivity.

But Australia isn’t the only national workforce with a high rate of absences.

PwC reported that in the UK, workers took 9.1 days of unscheduled absence over the past year.

Canadian employees took 9.1 days, up from 8 days in the previous year.

Meanwhile, Irish workers took 6.4 days of unscheduled leave, with US employees used 4.9 days. In Asia, the average number was a comparatively miniscule 2.2 days, while in New Zealand, workers took just 4.5 days.

Direct costs

In Australia, the high rate of absenteeism led to 88 million working days being lost to the national economy. This came at a cost of $33 billion in sick leave costs and lost productivity.

The cost to British businesses was even higher: they are losing £32 billion per annum – that’s the equivalent of almost AU$70bn.

In the US, it’s estimated that the direct cost of total paid time off as a percentage of payroll stands at 8.1%.

Indirect costs

Studies say that on average, co-workers are 29.5% less productive when covering for unplanned absence days.

An overwhelming 90% of respondents to one survey indicated that unplanned absences added to the workload.

Sixty-one per cent of those respondents said that this increased stress, while almost half said it hurt workplace morale.

Two in five said that covering for others reduced the quality of their work.

Combating absenteeism

In the past, experts have suggested using the following methods:

1. Monitor employee absence records for patterns:

A quarter of organisations fail to keep absenteeism statistics, while 75% don’t have information on the cost of it to their business, data has shown.

2. Use the Bradford Factor:

This is a formula that measures the number of incidences of absence and the duration of those absences to compute an ‘absence score’ for each employee. This also indicates whether the overall absenteeism rate is caused by some employees suffering from long term ill-health or by a number of employees being frequently absent for short periods.

3. Interview employees on their return to work

This can be an effective method of managing short term absences. It could be used as a forum to discuss possible preventative solutions. 

COMMENTS

  • by 6/10/2015 1:43:25 PM

    This is only half the story. Compare this with the flexibility of the workforce.

    I had a personal experience where after working six days a week for a number of months I ask the CEO for a day off to visit a financial planner and he insisted that I put in an application for an annual leave day. The next time I needed a day off, you guessed it I rang in sick.

    My advice to all out there don't be a mug .... ring in sick.

  • by 10/10/2015 2:43:34 AM

    We have a high incidence of absenteeism in our workplace. When I asked another employee to swap a shift with me he said he couldn't because he was going to be sick that day - this was a week a head. I asked him if he was going to have an operation and he said no that he was "due a sick day". On further discussion I worked out that he had accumulated enough sick leave to have another day off. He wasn't sick. His view was that sick leave is a right not a privilege. He injured himself playing sport shortly after and was off work for 6 weeks with no sick leave!

Most Read