Should texting in sick be banned?

Australian employers are cracking down on employees who email or text when they are too ill to go to work, and are monitoring social media posts which often show that illnesses aren’t genuine.

More employees are ditching old-fashioned phone calls to the boss and are using text messages or emails to call in sick instead.

But Australian workplaces, backed by the workplace watchdog, have increasingly cracked down the technology-based sickies unless workers are legitimately too sick to call, a leading recruitment agency told The Herald Sun.

The FWC has warned workers that if they are caught on social media after they have called into work sick, they could face disciplinary action.

Marketing and advertising company Brand Easy Australia director Andrew Fabien told Daily Mail Australia that he would prefer his employees to make a phone call when they're sick.

“The majority of my staff are aged between 18 and 30 and most of the younger ones definitely prefer contacting us via text or email rather than a phone call,” Fabien said. “I don't mind if they text the night before but if they're going to text me the morning before their shift, it'll definitely get under my skin because it doesn't give me enough time to prepare work and organise someone else to cover their shift. When an employee texts me at the last minute, to me, I personally think they just couldn't be bothered going to work that day or just some lazy excuse to get out of it.”

He added that if he did see an increase in text or email sickies, he would consider enforcing a rule banning the practice.

The Herald Sun reported that 15,000 unfair dismissal cases annually use social media posts against employees to prove that they had been going about their day as normal after calling in sick.

“If they publicise the fact that they have taken an illegitimate sick day, it's more likely than not that there will be consequences,” said Fair Work Commissioner Leigh Johns. “It could be a valid reason for termination, depending on the circumstances of the case, such as being warned in the past.” 

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