Thursday, September 1st, 2011
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - 1 September, 2011 - Fifty-eight percent of Australian workers admit to taking sick leave when they were not actually ill. When asked why they took a sickie, feeling stressed was the number one cause, indicating the need for employees and their employers to recognise stress as a widespread concern. The option of flexible working hours, choice to take unpaid leave if required, and the ability to work from home were the three most desired attributes when it comes to what employers can offer their staff in order to help them manage work/life balance, reduce stress and address the number of sickies taken.

The results were part of a new global survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated. Conducted across Australia, China, France, United Kingdom, India, Mexico and the United States, the Kronos Global Absence survey examined absenteeism amongst the different geographies, how the rest of the workforce is affected when employees call in sick, and what employers can do to better manage the problem.

Chucking a sickie? We’re not the only ones

Aussies aren’t the only ones taking sickies - the survey findings reveal that Australia ranks third behind our counterparts in China (71 percent) and India (62 percent) when it comes to the likelihood of taking false sick days. Meanwhile, Aussie workers are more likely to chuck a sickie than those in the United States (52 percent), United Kingdom (43 percent), Mexico (38 percent) and France (16 percent).

One in three of us have had to chuck a sickie to take care of a sick child or family member (32 percent), while one in ten (10 percent) cited a heavy workload as the motivator.

“It’s a shame to see that half of us are feeling the pinch at work and needing to take a sickie as a result. What individuals should recognise however is that stress is an important issue and that we should treat it as such. Meanwhile, businesses need to think about ways to manage absenteeism due to stress, overwork or personal commitments by providing employees with more flexibility,” said Peter Harte, general manager, Kronos Australia.

Employee incentives

Sixty-one percent of Aussie workers felt their employers should introduce flexible working hours in order to reduce the number of sickies that are taken. Almost half of us (46 percent) would like to have the option to take unpaid leave if required, while 39 percent of us would like to see the introduction of summer Fridays - employees could take either a half-day or full-day off during the summer months and make the time up during the rest of the week.

“Apart from providing more flexibility and incentives, absenteeism can also be addressed when employees have access to workforce management tools that alert them when it’s been a while since their last holiday, assign shifts according to their preference, or let their manager know when they’ve worked more than a certain number of hours in the past week,” Peter expressed.

“Less than half of Aussie workers surveyed say that their organisation has an automated system to keep track of their absences, leave days or sick days. To manage absenteeism and maintain productivity, businesses need to have the intelligence to identify trends in planned and unplanned absence while ensuring that employees are entitled to taking their leave days when they wish to.”

To see a video on employee absence and how it affects businesses around the world, please see the link here:

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Kronos is the global leader in workforce management solutions that enable organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Tens of thousands of organizations in 60 countries — including more than half of the Fortune 1000® — use Kronos time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics applications. To learn how Kronos uniquely delivers complete automation and high-quality information in an easy-to-use solution, visit
Derek Lau
P: (02) 8281 3806
M: 0416 272 016


kronos, absence, abseentism, absence survey



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