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18 February 2020 Posted by 

More workers taking sickies as burnout rates increase

TAKING a sickie used to be an excuse for heading out to the cricket, but in 2020 it is more like to be a serious symptom of employee burnout.

Figures produced by an Australian industry body has found employee burnout is on the rise and is affecting one in three organizations.
In May 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognised burnout as a workplace phenomenon and a result of chronic workplace stress.  Now, the Australian Payroll Association has released new data that has found that employee burnout is increasing in Australia’s workforce, due to the growth in sick leave.
A survey of more than 600 payroll managers by the Association, found that 35% of the country’s big and small organisations had seen an increase in sick leave across their workforce.
Of concern, 71% of payroll managers reported there are employees who have not taken annual leave for more than 18 months, outside of forced workplace closure periods.
One in four of payroll managers reported this was up to 5% of their organisation’s employees. Further, 72% said their organisation had no system in place to ensure employees took their annual leave every year.
Larger organisations reported having the highest growth in sick leave. One third of large organizations, with more than 500 employees, saw an increase in sick leave, compared with just 20% of micro-businesses with less than 10 employees.
The Association said this could be due to the lack of resources in small companies preventing employees from shifting their workload to another employee when they were away.
Large organisations also saw a higher proportion of employees failing to take annual leave. In 32% of medium-sized and large organisations with 200-5000 employees, up to 5% of employees had not taken annual leave in the last 18 months.
This compares with just 12% of small businesses of up to 50 employees who had up to 5% of employees failing to take annual leave.
The industries with the largest proportion of organisations reporting sick leave increases are education and training industry, IT, telecommunications, utilities and energy, hospital, healthcare and disability services. Almost half of their payroll managers reported an increase in sick leave.
Australian Payroll Association CEO Tracy Angwin said: “An increased feeling of workplace burnout could be due to organisations placing higher levels of pressure on employees.”
“Often, employees could also be stressed about personal or financial issues that might have nothing to do with work but can be worsened by rising tensions in their work environment.
“It falls to employers of all organisational sizes to ensure that their employees take their entitlements when needed. Payroll managers can take this a step further by putting systems in place that ensure that employees take a certain amount of annual leave per year. A workplace where employees feel comfortable to use these entitlements is more likely to be a more productive work environment.”



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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.