Don’t go to work if you are sick

Contributed by Glen

Access to Sick leave as part of your employment, is something every Australian worker should be entitled to.

Yet many of us don’t take our sickies. Is it because we’re pressured by the employer to turn up to work regardless of how whether we feel well or not?

Many years ago, Egyptian workers building pyramids for their pharaohs were entitled to sick leave. Somehow over the lengthy passage of time, sick leave for workers disappeared.

Paid sick leave is not something Australian workers have always had. At the turn of the twentieth century, access to sick leave was contained under common law, making it a difficult area for workers to obtain their rights.

The effort put in by workers and their unions, began making inroads into this area. In Australia paid sick leave was introduced back in 1907, when the Shearers Award allowed a shearer to take a sick day if he was unwell.

In 1922 the Engineers Award had a sick leave provision included allowing up to a week’s sick leave. By the end of the 1920’s sick leave provisions appeared in most Awards. In the next fifty years Australian workers became entitled to 10 or so sick days per year.

As the gains of previous generations are being taken from us, new challenges arise.

A problem now prevalent is called presenteeism, with many workers going to work even though they are unwell. Often sick workers attend work, spreading germs amongst their colleagues.

You’ll often hear the boss whingeing how much your sickie costs them, but do they tell you the cost of presenteeism?

In 2014, it has been estimated, presenteeism cost Australian businesses $24. It seems the bosses are so blinkered, they don’t even acknowledge it costs them more to have a sick worker on site!

Work can make you sick. Sick leave is yours. Take it.

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