Sick leave

If “Interesting” and “Unusual” saves the taxpayer $3M per year, I’m all for it

Inland Revenue Department staff are being hauled before their manager if they have even one day off ill, as the tax agency grapples with its high level of sick leave.

The meetings, dubbed “welcome back conversations”, are part of a new initiative – Supporting Positive Attendance – introduced after the IRD noticed skyrocketing rates of staff taking sickies.

After starting the project two years ago, it had gone from second worst to third worst department in the public sector. The tactics have raised the eyebrows not only of staff, but also of an employment expert who says the department is dancing close to the edge when it comes to obligations under the Holidays Act and possibly the Privacy Act.

But the IRD is standing by its policy and says the initiative has saved taxpayers $6 million in two years.

The IRD had one of the highest sick leave stats in the sector.  That needed attention.   Read more »


Mental health days

In New Zealand, you are expected to come to work if you are physically able.  But what about  if you’re having an 0ff-day mentally?

Workers pulling sickies are costing the economy millions of dollars but a business boss says the answer could be as simple as letting staff start late if they’re nursing a Christmas party hangover.

A Wellness in the Workplace survey show sickies taken by people who aren’t really ill are estimated to account for 303,000 lost days of work each year, at a cost of $283 million.

Some employers say it’s a significant cause of workplace absenteeism, and one in five say staff treat sick leave as an occasional perk, the survey found.

The country’s largest health insurer, Southern Cross, which did the survey, said while it was impossible to gauge the exact level of fake sickness businesses needed to look at workplace culture and how often sickies were happening.

In some other countries they have the concept of a “Mental Health” day.  You phone in, tell them you have no good reason to not come in, other than not wanting to.   Read more »

People are Stupid, Ctd

NZ Herald

Really they are…people are stupid:

A youth services worker who used sick leave to spend a week away with his family and posted photos of his trip on Facebook was justifiably sacked, the Employment Relations Authority has ruled.

Bruce Taiapa was working for the private Gisborne training establishment Turanga Ararau in March last year when his partner asked his boss, Sharon Maynard, for five days’ unpaid leave the following week, starting March 28.

Leave applications were required by Child, Youth and Family because the couple were running a CYF house.

Ms Maynard was not willing to give a week’s leave because Mr Taiapa was needed to do work no one else could cover, but she let him take the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week.

She then went on leave and came back the next Tuesday to be told Mr Taiapa had been off that day and the day before on sick leave.

He had called the office on Monday morning and told his manager, Winifred Ruru, that he had a damaged calf muscle and the doctor had advised he immediately take time off work.

So far so good.

Ms Ruru told Mr Taiapa he needed to provide a doctor’s certificate.

Another worker at the organisation said he had seen Mr Taiapa on the Monday leaving town with his family.

On the Wednesday, Ms Maynard was shown a photo taken at a waka tournament in Rotorua in which Mr Taiapa had a “large female sitting on his knee”, the authority said.

Ms Maynard said she became suspicious Mr Taiapa had used sick leave to attend the week-long waka competition.

Uh oh

Mr Taiapa said how he managed his health was his business, and he believed he had done nothing wrong in travelling to Rotorua.

He said the case by Turanga Ararau was “constructed” against him and he was considering appealing against the employment authority ruling.

Don’t you just love the entitlement mentality of this fool?


Whinging pommy bastards take a lot of sickies

The Telegraph

The whinging, moaning pommy bastards are a sick wee bunch new figures have shown:

In the public sector, the bill hits £3.4bn a year, the research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found.

The report by the think-tank quantifies the cost of long-term sick leave – periods lasting longer than six months – for the first time and warns that the problem costs the average company with more than 500 employees £620,000 a year.

The research says the bulk of the cost comes from companies’ own sick pay policies, where employers usually provide full pay to the absentee for a set number of weeks, followed by a period of half pay.

Other costs that ramp up the overall sickness absence bill include replacement staff salaries, recruitment and training costs for replacement workers, productivity loss and the red tape involved in trying to comply with absence management rules, according to the report, seen by The Telegraph.

Yes, employees often use poorly designed sick leave provisions as bonus holidays.

Public Servants pack more sickies

It’s official, Public Servants are sicker than the rest of us. Whilst sitting in their air-conditioned top shelf office blocks expanding their already well padded butts the public service is also taking more sick days than the rest of us. More pay, more holidays and more sick leave. No wonder the wheels of government grind so slowly.

Public servants averaged 7.7 sick days each last year, compared with 5.3 days for workers in the private sector.

The disparity was symptomatic of the cultural difference between private and public sector workplaces, claims one critic.

The National Employers’ wage and salary survey interviewed more than 39,000 employees, and found the average worker took 5.3 sick days each year.

The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association commissioned the survey, which a spokesman said highlighted the cultural mindset at workplaces.

Employment services manager David Lowe said 7.7 sick days was high, considering most private businesses provided only the legal minimum of five days. “It’s just a symptom of the difference between the the private and public sectors,” he said. “It’s about the culture of the workplace. When people are in that grey zone of not feeling flash, some go in, but others say `I’m going to take the day off’.”

Over paid, underworked and now having a lend via sick days.

One former public servant who responded to the survey said many workers saw 10 sick days as a target. “If you’re sick in the public sector no one cares, and work does not pile up on your desk.”

Ain’t that the truth. I know a couple of civil servants who think their sick leave is like a special holiday allowance and they calculate it as such.

Ministry of Social Development staff are among the most sickly, averaging 8.1 days each. A spokesperson said staff there got sick more often because they had more interaction with the public.

Ministry of Economic Development staff appear impervious to germs and bacteria, averaging just 1.5 sick days a year. At the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, staff averaged 7.63 sick days. Female staff took eight days, while male staff took five each.

Hmmm…I wonder what Alasdair Thompson thinks about these figures.