Employees working for the government are more likely to take Mondays and Fridays off sick without a doctor’s certificate, according to the Victorian Auditor-General.
But almost 30% of Mondays claimed as a sick day were taken by workers on salaries worth more than $115,000. The research comes as figures this year show Australians take an average 8.62 sick or personal leave days a year.
But Australian Human Rights Institute national president Peter Wilson told The Australian Financial Review the breaks are needed.
“People in the senior echelons of government work extraordinarily hard… they are one-step away from the minister’s office, there is the pressure of getting things done, the ebb and flow of political life; it’s tough.
“If people take regular leave breaks they are less likely to be stressed out at work or to have their immune system run down. If they don’t they work until they drop and take a longer break.”
Peter Holland, deputy director at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Research in Employment and Work, agrees that it isn’t all foul play.
“We work more unpaid hours than any other developed country, therefore people may be unwell through the week and take work with them on Thursday to work on as they recover on Friday and Monday so as not to lose too much work time – in effect taking their own time as part of the recover.
“The evidence suggests that Australia is a land of the lost weekend, rather than the long weekend.”