As winter rolls around and those unexpected sunny autumn days become few and far between, it becomes increasingly tempting to pull up the duvet, press snooze on the alarm clock and hunker down. We are entering the season of “sickies”, where a cup of tea and a movie seems the obvious choice rather than a battle with the wind, rain and monochrome suited stampede on Lambton Quay.
TESSA KATE HOGG 23/05/2012
But how do you break it to your boss.. A call? A text? An email? An unexplained outbreak of chickenpox (no, you never had it as a child)? Surely bosses have heard every excuse in the book, surely they will see right through your Oscar winning worthy croaky voice. Employers beware, there is a new smart phone app on the scene and it has got sick days sussed.
“Skiver” helps you pull ‘the perfect sickie’. It asks you to select the number of days you want off then suggests possible illnesses as well as a list of symptoms just in case you are pressed for more information by a suspicious boss. This cheeky app will even provide an email or text template to send to your boss. Don’t worry about wasting the day, skiver will hook into google maps and provide suggestions of hi-jinks you can get up to in your area on your day off. Now it has never been easier for employees to throw a plausible sickie, or harder for employers to detect it.
While it’s not yet available in New Zealand, there are plenty of imitation apps out there and whether or not employees are using smart phone apps to get the day off they are certainly taking days off in droves.
So while skiver takes the work out of getting out of work, what is an employer to do?
For the tech-savvy, prepared to battle app-on-app ‘Employee tracker’ can note down attendance and reasons for leave, but a more realistic approach, where dishonesty is discouraged and the workplace isn’t such a dreaded place to be, is the best course of action.
- Find imaginative ways that encourage high attendance, a fun and stimulating workplace will boost team morale and motivation.
- Try to create an open and supportive culture, be flexible, a bit of give and take goes a long way.
- Be as clear as possible in your policies and contracts- Include written procedures in employment agreements outlining employee’s rights, the sick leave process and how it is monitored.
- Make sure employees know who they have to inform and how they have to do it. A personal phone call, rather than a text or email, is best to sort the sick from the skiving.
- Apply these procedures consistently so everyone knows where they stand
- You can ask your employee for a medical certificate as proof of illness or injury, if they have been away less than 3 days you will have to meet the cost of them getting this, if more than 3 consecutive days the employee must foot the bill.
- Accuse an employee of pulling a sickie without evidence and a full and fair investigation, you may leave yourself open to personal grievance claims of unfair discrimination or unfair dismissal.
- Make people feel guilty about genuine illness, this will only lower morale across the board and is more likely to increase skiving in the long run.
At the end of the day it is simple, create a work environment that’s more appealing than a cheeky day off ‘sick’. If an employee looks out to grey skies and resists the temptation to press snooze on the alarm clock for a day in the office, you have been successful.
And Potential skivers beware the rookie error made by Australian Kyle Doyle, who pulled a sickie and then updated his facebook “Not going to work, still trashed, sickie woooo”.