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Familiar ‘disease’ poised to sweep Australia on Friday

January 24, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Hundreds of thousands of Australians are expected to suddenly fall ill this Friday, turning a day of work into a four-day long weekend.

“Chucking a sickie” has become something of an established Aussie institution, though the tradition costs the country billions of dollars and is condemned by employers.

Part of the problem is having a fixed day for Australia Day, which falls this Thursday, 26 January and is a national holiday. That leaves a lonely Friday sitting between a public holiday and the weekend – and at the end of the school holidays, as well.

Estimates of the number of Australians s expected to chuck a sickie range from 200,000 to 380,000. Some are higher than that, extending up to 720,000.

A nationally representative survey consisting of an independent panel of 1004 Australians, commissioned by hotel price comparison platform HotelsCombined, indicates that 6% of Aussies are planning to chuck a sickie this Friday, and a further 29% have done the “right thing” and put it in as an annual leave day.

There are about 12 million Australians employed, so that translates to about 720,000 workers planning to chuck a sickie and a further 3.48 million taking a day’s leave.

The HotelsCombined survey indicates that one in three Aussie workers will take a sickie or annual leave day after Australia Day this year for a four-day holiday – more than in 2016. Among the findings:

  • 35% of Aussies workers will give themselves a four-day holiday from 25-29 January;
  • 29% of workers have planned an annual leave day on Friday 27;
  • 11% of 20-somethings will chuck a sickie on the Friday;
  • 35% of Victorians will take annual leave on Friday 27 January – more than in other states;
  • Most holidays are forecasted to be in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast.

One in three (35%) of the survey respondents admitted they had already planned to escape work on Friday 27 January to create a four-day long weekend, with the majority (29%) taking it as an annual leave day, and 6% planning to chuck a sickie.

These numbers are slightly higher than in 2016, where the dates fell on the opposite end of the week. Last year, Australia Day fell on a Tuesday, leaving Monday as a working day. When the survey asked respondents if they took Monday 25 January as a sick day or annual leave day, 30% admitted they took the Monday off. Of the 30%, 25 per cent took it as annual leave and 5% took sick leave.

This year, workers in their 30s are the age group most likely to take the Friday after Australia Day as annual leave (35% of respondents in their 30s), while those in their 20s are most likely take it as a sickie (11% of 20-something respondents).

Between the states, Victorians and ACT residents are most likely to take the Friday as an annual leave (35% of respondents in each state), while Queenslanders and Tasmanians are most likely to take a sickie (8% of respondents in each state).

Head of Marketing Australia and New Zealand at HotelsCombined, Chris Rivett, said reasons for the trend to take the Friday off included the fact that Australians got only “a handful of public holidays a year and it’s an opportunity to actually go away for a good break.

“Secondly, being in between a weekend and public holiday, Friday is likely to be a relatively easy work day. Also with school starting back again on the following Monday, it makes sense that many will extend their holidays by one additional day this year.”

The following charts give an idea:

Annual leave and sickies on Friday 27 January 2017, overall 

How we will spend the Friday % of Aussies
Taking annual leave 29%
Chucking a sickie 6%
Working the Friday 65%

 Annual leave and sickies on Friday 27 January 2017, by state 

How we will spend the Friday NSW VIC QLD SA WA ACT TAS NT
Taking annual leave 30% 35% 22% 26% 22% 35% 27% 10%
Taking a sickie 5% 7% 8% 6% 7% 6% 8% 0%
Working the Friday 64% 59% 69% 68% 71% 59% 65% 90%

 Australia Day 2016 annual leave and sickies, by state

How we will spend the Friday NSW VIC QLD SA WA ACT TAS NT
Taking annual leave 28% 31% 17% 21% 25% 29% 19% 10%
Taking a sickie 5% 5% 6% 5% 5% 0% 8% 0%
Working the Friday 68% 64% 77% 74% 70% 71% 73% 90%

 Top 10 holiday destinations the four-day Australia Day weekend

Rank (popularity) Destination Average star accommodation to be booked by travellers Average nights to be spent
1 Melbourne CBD 4 2
2 Sydney CBD 4 1
3 Surfers Paradise 4 2
4 Brisbane CBD 4 1
5 Southbank 4 2
6 Perth CBD 4 1
7 Adelaide CBD 4 1
8 Waikiki (international) 3 5
9 Broadbeach 4 2
10 Patong (international) 3.5 5

Edited by Peter Needham

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