My PA keeps taking sickies despite being hip hop healthy

Dear Aunty B,

I run a small IT business ($2 million turnover annual) with 15 employees.

We do everything we can to make sure our staff are healthy. We work in natural air, supply fresh fruit and bottled water, and a different exercise routine every Thursday (last week she missed hip hop.) They also get their birthday off as a holiday every year.

As you would expect our staff barely take any sick days as they are so well looked after even though they work long hours.

But my PA who started with us this year; so far she has had 10 days off. Will her attitude spread? Do I say something?



Dear SF,

It’s the hip hop. No offense, but if I had to do hip hop at lunchtime with no air conditioning and the smell of old fruit in my nostrils (you have to admit organic fruit goes off far faster than the pesticide coated stuff from the supermarket) I too would need a breather (probably a respirator).

In fact for all those readers who keep bleating on about wanting good news, here it is – in this downturn, all those team building activities like hip hop and go-carting will go the way of no deposit loans. Halleluiah!

Now just to put things in perspective; we recently quoted a report that the average Australian worker takes 8.62 days off a year due to ill health.

Public servants are the worst, taking an average of 10.8 days a year, with the average cost of absence at $354 per person per day.

In fact up to 8% of their workforce won’t show up on any day (due to) sick leave! So as you can see, your PA is a typical Aussie, making sure that your company statistically counts in the great Aussie tradition of taking a sickie when they are hip hop healthy.

Terrible isn’t it? Here is what to do.

Pull her aside and check if anything is wrong. You can mention that she has had 10 (allow voice to rise a little when saying “10”) sick days and that is quite unusual for your firm. Ask her if there is anything you can do to help. Your concern will be enough for her to think twice before, god forbid, missing hip hop again.

As for her attitude spreading… attitudes are not viral; or bacterial for that matter. So don’t worry. I would be more worried about OH&S claims for slipped discs myself.

Good luck!

Your Aunty B.


Sean Segond von Banchet writes: I am MD of my company. Why can’t I get sick days?



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