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Sick employees need support, not harassment

Council of Trade Unions media release
16 November 2010

Sick employees need support, not harassment

Sickness regulations should ensure that employees are supported on health issues and have time off if required, said the CTU today in response to the Treasury reports on sick leave.

CTU Vice President Richard Wagstaff said: “It is important that people have a clear entitlement to sick leave. This report suggests that the Government should not be forcing through changes that make it more likely that people will come to work when sick.”

The Treasury reports quantify the cost of ‘presenteeism’ – the unproductive performance of employees feeling obliged to come to work when they are ill – at between $4bn to $8bn per year.

“Allowing employers to unreasonably demand sick notes for a single day’s absence is only going to exacerbate the costs of ‘presenteeism’. We should be working towards approaches to productivity that engage workers and create a positive workplace culture, not one of mistrust and suspicion.”

“High workforce participation combined with the intensification of work is creating a global trend toward more stress at work. Employee assistance programmes are becoming more and more important. Unreasonable demands for sick notes do not fit in with this approach.”

“If you treat workers well they will reward employers with higher discretionary effort. If employers unduly focus on a very small number who take ‘sickies’ they end up paying for it through a negative workplace culture and people coming to work when they should not be there.”

ENDS



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