CANBERRA, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Australian bosses are preparing for up to 200,000 employees to call in sick on Friday -- the day after the Australia Day public holiday.
With the national holiday set to fall on a Thursday this year, many bosses expect their employees to take the Friday off as well -- giving them a four-day weekend.
On Monday, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief James Pearson told News Corp that the impromptu four-day holiday could cost the Australian economy more than 45 million U.S. dollars.
He said anyone thinking of taking the day off at the last minute should apply for annual leave instead, as "taking a sickie" may "erode trust" in the workplace.
"Misusing sick leave erodes trust in the workplace, puts extra strain on colleagues doing the right thing and leaves people short of sick leave when they genuinely need it," Pearson said on Monday.
Pearson's Victorian state counterpart Mark Stone said the "unofficial" public holiday would only add more of a "financial burden" on many businesses. He said employers should follow-up all sick day claims to ensure they aren't left short-changed.
"Businesses can look at implementing policies to ensure workers are accountable for unexplained absences or personal leave; for example, by providing a medical certificate if they are absent on a day adjacent to a public holiday," Stone said.
Australia Day has already been declared a registered day off (RDO) for Victorian Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) members, who were guaranteed the four-day weekend as part of the most recent enterprise bargaining agreement.
Meanwhile Victoria's government spokesperson Philip Dalidakis told News Corp there would be no changes to the public holiday schedule despite the expected mass sick day.