‘Winter is coming’ is not just a Game of Thrones phrase … it is a reality. And with the change of season comes the flu and sickies.
There is lots of anecdotal conflicting information about sickies – one voice says that these are burnt into the Australia psyche and in 2016 cost the economy a whopping 32.5 billion (Direct Health Solutions), the Age newspaper reported in 2015 that “the great Aussie sickie” is falling out of favour with seven year lows per employee. No matter what you believe, the reality is that from May to August each year many of us will catch and suffer from influenza.
One thing that no one wants is workers, who have coughs and runny noses, to be in the workplace spreading their germs all around. In Australia, workers are entitled to 10 days Personal Carers Leave per year and this accrues from year to year. Therefore it is in all employers (not to mention employees) best interest to use these allocated days, to ensure your employees recover and to save your workplace from being decimated by the flu.
Many workplaces issue no cost flu vaccinations, but if this is not something you can afford, then undertake simple measures to keep your workplace healthy and productive:
- Run a program to encourage hand washing – use signs, games and communication to remind people;
- Develop a policy for coughing people to be issued with a face mask when in the company of others;
- Have lots of available tissues on hand for employees to use;
- Engage in a health program at work – could be as simple as bringing fruit into the office, or a program to drink more water – have some walking meetings and encourage your workers to get out of doors and get some fresh air during the day;
- Make sure all communal use items such as crockery and cutlery is well washed;
- Give all team members a small packet of antiseptic wipes to wipe down their desk, keyboard and phone;
- Have cleaners antiseptically wipe all communal areas.
If you feel that your staff are taking too many sickies or that these days off are unsubstantiated, you can develop a policy to communicate to all team members the rules around taking personal leave. This is something that CIRCLE Recruitment & HR can assist you with.
It is illegal to terminate a worker’s employment because they are ill or injured, so be very careful with situations of non-performance that include illness or injury.
One final aspect that many organisations do not consider is how your remaining team watch and evaluate your actions, to those in your organisation who become seriously ill. Supporting your ill employees through difficult times, can not only ease the burden for the actual employee but reap great rewards in the new found commitment from other team members, who see the stance you take and the support you give.
Sickies can be a minefield to navigate, but with CIRCLE Recruitment & HR by your side we can assist you to manage your workforce through difficult times.
Important Note: These articles have been prepared for general circulation and are circulated for general informational purposes only; these articles should not be regarded as business or investment advice. The articles represent the views of the writers and are subject to change without notice. Additionally, while every care has been taken in the preparation of the articles no representation or warranty as to accuracy or completeness of any statement is given. An individual or organisation should, before any business or investment decision is made, consider the appropriateness of the information in this document, and seek professional advice, having regard to objectives, situation and needs. This document is solely for the use of the party to whom it is provided.