Written by Jorgia White
Edited for online by Lochy McIvor

Managers at the Australian Public Service (APS) will be given more flexibility in negotiations as they struggle to combat the problem of sickies within their workforce, according to reports by The Canberra Times.

‘Unscheduled absences’ within public services are said to cost Australia more than $500 million every year.

Statistics suggested public service sick days rose in the past financial year, bringing the national average up to 12 sick days per person.

This rise is above the award allowance of 10 days a year.

Fortitude Valley’s Chamber of Commerce President, Robin Maini, says the new incentive scheme may put unnecessary pressure on the already struggling private sector.

“It’s tough for small businesses today to manage wages while retailers are paying exorbitant amounts just on Sundays, yet they get penalized by their land lords if they’re not open for Sunday trading,” he said.

“This whole ‘incentivize someone with a higher wage so they’ll take less personal days’, I don’t agree with it at all.

“I absolutely agree that will put added pressure to private business owners.”

New wage proposals could mean small businesses in Brisbane suffer.
New wage proposals could mean small businesses in Brisbane suffer.

He says it will never remain as just a federal issue and will most definitely expand beyond, hurting Australia’s small businesses.

“The repercussions going forward are, well I’ve got all these people that are promising not to take a sick day if I’ll increase their wages, well now I’ll have to get rid of somebody or not hire someone else,” he said.

“I just can’t fathom increasing it. We already know there’s no measurement of how many people take it for the purpose of taking advantage of it.”

State Secretary of the Public Service Workers Union, Bill Marklew, says there have been many job cuts in the public sector which make these statistics inaccurate.

“Fact of the matter is some public servants take some leave, it is no different than anyone else in any other part of society,” he said.

“It is what is happening in your life or in your family that dictates what’s happening to you.”