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The value of Sick Leave

Written By: - Date published: 7:35 am, December 6th, 2013 - 109 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags:

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The unthinking publishing of studies like this regularly disappoints me.

It’s basically taking a press release from business lobby group, Business NZ, and accepting its line.

The study Business NZ has paid for is in fact a quick totting up of the gross costs of sick leave, without looking at the benefits, or considering the real world.

Yes there is a cost to paying a sick employee who isn’t at work.

There’s also a cost if that sick employee turns up.

As they’re trying to quantify in the US at the moment with their movement for sick leave (as the only western country without it…) taking hold in some cities.  If the waiter-employee turns up to work and coughs over your customers, they may well not return.  If your office-worker turns up, they may well infect all your other employees.

And while they’re at work, they won’t be remotely as productive: they’re ill.  and they may become more so, because they haven’t taken a rest – increasing the costs to the employer and society at large as we treat them to get them better.  And by not paying sick pay you’d really be pressing home that you as an employer don’t care about their welfare: how likely are they to care about yours?

Sick leave makes sense economically, as well as from a public health perspective.

Looking further at the study New Zealanders average 4.5 sick days each year compared to the UK’s 6.5.

Are we really that much healthier, or is it that most people don’t have the option of more than 5 days, so turn up, or take annual or unpaid leave?

Public service workers take more than average – no doubt because they have the ability to: most get 10 days sick leave, as we all should.

Manual workers also take more in another unsurprising stat: when I injured my wrist earlier this year I didn’t need time off as I could still type; but if I was required to lift something heavy, swing a hammer or turn a wrench, I’d have had to take a few days off.

So how enlightened are we from the Herald’s covering the press release?  There’s a little more evidence about how we need 10 days sick leave – against the spin of the story – and that’s about it.

109 comments on “The value of Sick Leave”

  1. Paul 1

    Notice how the Herald is running one of its awful polls to try to shape opinion on this.
    What a rag.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=11167095

    “Ever thrown a ‘sickie’? What was the real reason?”
    I was genuinely ill
    I had to look after someone
    I suffered an injury
    I needed a ‘duvet day’
    I had a stonking hangover
    There was a sporting fixture/movie/date/job interview I couldn’t miss

    • karol 1.1

      A “duvet” day, could be that a person’s resilience and immune system is low and they ned the rest. If they didn’t take a recup day they are likely to be sicker in the future.

      A “duvet” day, probably is a preventive, pre-sick day.

      I have far less sick days than most of my colleagues. But I only work part time. My accumulated allocation of sick days available is quite high now.

      However, I really don’t appreciate it when hard working colleagues turn up to work in my work area with streaming colds or flu. I don’t want to catch whatever they’ve got.

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        +100% karol….while working very hard and being committed to performing the tasks at hand to a very high standard……i nevertheless used to take a ‘disrespectful’ rather realistic attitude towards some of the hierarchy and Ministers in the Public Service….if I felt I needed a ‘mental'( motivation) health day…I would take one or two….depending on my level of motivation….i would also take days off if I felt a slightest of colds or flu lurking….

        …..the result, to my surprise, is that I took far fewer sick days off overall than most of my more stoical and committed colleagues…..who when they came down later with a lurgy would be off sometimes for weeks on end

        ….I also left the public service in robust good physical and mental health at a time of my choosing ……and ironically when many of my colleagues had been made redundant I was given unusual incentives to be retained by the Minister’s office …I had to use the union to force a voluntary severance out of them…ha ha….( actually i was pissed off with the redundancies imposed on my very worthy colleagues)

        Moral of the story:….sick leave is a very important provision and very important to take! …And as they say on the airlines….In an emergency: “Attach Your Own Oxygen Bag First!”

    • Naturesong 1.2

      Saw that.

      Didn’t vote as I couldn’t see the option for exhaustion, which is the only other reason I’ve taken a “sickie” without actually coughing up chunks.

    • newsense 1.3

      fucking useless economically illiterate journalism and interesting use of the word economy. Benefits to the ‘economy’ has been such a loose whore of a phrase used during this government.

      In other news, tennants and mortgage-holders have reported that rent and mortgage payments cost the economy over $700 billion per year and are going to be brave and save that amount for the economy by not paying either starting Monday…

      honestly such an unbelievable bullshit attack, though I suppose from the mostly useless fucktards in the business community of NZ who need the government to create businesses for them to buy to stimulate the stock market…

      Don’t forget the 90 shit. It’s just attacks on Kiwis. To be honest this shit almost makes me want to see a real freaking reactionarily socialist government that might ‘reeducate’ some of these pathetic pieces of humanity.

      What goes through their heads- hey we notice that the real average wage of right on the farking poverty line something like $28K has decreased, it’s ok for most of you cos we’ve got you working as trial workers or on contracts where we’ve taken your holidays and any other meager entitlements. for the rest of you who have actually sensible things such as sick days (you know those things which INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY by making you well and not infecting all your work mates, as well as not making you angry, frustrated and devastated everytime you get sick) we want to take them away too. Because the problem with the ‘economy’ is that you are lazy and using these days when you are not really sick, on average 4.5 times a year.

      Fuck these guys. Useless at business, just fucking useless. I’d love to see whoever came up with this in a gulag. It’d be poetic justice.

      If this is there angle the next is to take weekends, and evenings (as well as the rest of the councils, free publicly available recreation areas etc etc…) this is just pure bs.

      • newsense 1.3.1

        in case you hadn’t picked up this makes me very very steaming angry on so many fronts

  2. Puckish Rogue 2

    “It’s basically taking a press release from business lobby group, Business NZ, and accepting its line.”

    – Its what they also do with press releases from all the political parties so no surprise really

    • Ben Clark 2.1

      There’s a reason I said “regularly disappoints”…

      But actually political party press releases aren’t just put through – otherwise the Herald would be full of Labour Party stories… but business and lobby group ones are regularly only slightly edited. In fact with this story getting a little comment from Richard Wagstaff of the PSA, rather than just running the contents, is better than most.

      It’s not really the journos fault of course – there’s been massive cuts in the media, and if you’re expected to put 10 stories in for the next day’s paper, there’s only so much ringing around to get better informed about X that you can do. And there’s nil chance you’ll actually get to go out and see people…

      • Tracey 2.1.1

        I wonder what percentage of sick days are in the winter and between the june statutory and October statutory.

        When I worked in law firms you had to take your leave over January leaving only the stats for the rest of the year. Back in the day sof 3 weeks annual leave.

  3. Puckish Rogue 3

    “It’s basically taking a press release from business lobby group, Business NZ, and accepting its line.”

    – Its what they also do with press releases from all the political parties so no surprise really

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    US chain restaurants bring out touch screens to eliminate waiting staff

    You know how your local supermarket has been eliminating checkout staff and replacing them with touch screen checkout kiosks? (Higher upfront cost, much lower ongoing costs, far higher reliability).

    In the US, they’ve started to do the same at chain restaurants.

    Fortunately everyone in these entry level, minimum wage jobs can now retrain to be web developers and ORACLE database administrators /sarc

    • Clashman 4.2

      it’s up to us as consumers to not use these things.
      I refuse to use the automated checkout in the supermarket and I dont care how long I have to wait in a queue.
      I have been aproached many times by a “supervisor” who has tried to get me out of the queue and onto one of these machines, every time I simply ask “what are you going to do when you are replaced by a machine.”

      • infused 4.2.1

        I bet none of that happens and you are simply whining. They have been good. Takes far less time to get through the supermarket now.

        About 15 years ago, there was a prediction of a shrinking workforce (70%). Those that are employed, would only be the very skilled. I believe this is the way we are going, slowly.

        The question is, what to do with all the unskilled workers, and how will society function?

        • Tracey 4.2.1.1

          “I bet none of that happens and you are simply whining.”

          Should we assume that your statement about how much you work and work out is also crap?

          • infused 4.2.1.1.1

            You can do what you like.

            I just doubt someone in a supermarket does that. Be the first I’ve seen it.

            “Hey I’m just going to queue in this line for my two items for 30 minutes, because you know, fuck the system!”

            • Clashman 4.2.1.1.1.1

              What sort of wanker goes to the supermarket for two items? That is hardly an efficient use of time.
              I visit the supermarket once a fortnight, when I need milk, bread, fruit or veges between these visits I support my local businesses.

            • Tracey 4.2.1.1.1.2

              I understand it is probably hard for you to imagine someone taking the time to stand by their principles. You support Key, right?

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’m standing by my principles when I use the self-serve system. The principle that mindless, unfulfilling jobs should be done by machine so as to free up people to do things that are more creative.

                The problem isn’t the machine but the system that prevents people from actually having access to the resources needed to be the creative being that they are.

                • Rosie

                  “I’m standing by my principles when I use the self-serve system. The principle that mindless, unfulfilling jobs should be done by machine so as to free up people to do things that are more creative.”

                  Hey Drax, that’s a bit patronising. Do you know any checkout operators? Theres several I know that I can think who would be very offended to hear that their jobs are considered to be mindless and unfulfilling, and how do you know they aren’t being their creative best outside of work?

                  This is quite bad timing to hear this, I admit, because recently a woman in our neighbourhood was murdered by a man that she had a protection order against. Her job was as a checkout operator at one of the local supermarkets. She was well loved by her workmates and many of them attended her funeral. She is also missed by her customers because they loved her cheerful and genuine chat at the till. A friend of mine is particularly missing her because she has been served by her many times and got to know her, in a way. It was her job, and she was happy in it. Every role has a dignity to it – it just depends what value we place on that job that can make a difference.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Hey Drax, that’s a bit patronising.

                    No it’s not.

                    Do you know any checkout operators?

                    I have served in similar positions and I even enjoyed it for awhile. But that’s just it, only for awhile.

                    and how do you know they aren’t being their creative best outside of work?

                    If they are then they’re probably in the wrong line of work. There’s a reason that we have the saying: Find what you love and do that for your work. (paraphrased, can’t remember the exact quote).

                    • Rosie

                      Drax, because you worked in a similar role and evaluated the worth of that role from your experience doesn’t really mean you can judge others by your standard.

                      Sure it wasn’t for you and it’s definitely not for me either but checkout work, customer service etc is for some. The folks I know who do this work are happy and fulfilled in their lives, more so than me lol. I covet their stability and contentment!

                      And that saying, I know the one you mean. I kind of find that a bit corny comrade, (and I know corny isn’t your style), like it belongs on one of those inspirational plaques. We can seek the work we love, that we do find uplifting and fulfilling – the content of the work may be good but what about the employer? What about job security? There are layers of “what if’s” once you finally do land that job you love that represents your values.

                      One example might be DOC workers. Their love of conservation, science and nature is at the core of what they do but they are restrained in their work by their govt employer who doesn’t value them or the work they do and thanks them by cutting their budget.

                      I think that saying came from a time when work was secure, valued and roles were more defined. I think I said this yesterday, we are living in shit times and nothing is certain for our working futures, not even for graduates who may have a life ambition but whether it will be fulfilled is another story.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The folks I know who do this work are happy and fulfilled in their lives,

                      When I was a manager at McD’s I knew several people in the role. They enjoyed it but it wasn’t what they wanted to do for their life’s work. Can’t say that I’ve met anybody who was looking to be a checkout operator for the rest of their life. It was just something to do while they worked towards getting the job they did want. And I know people who have moved on from there as well after finding out that it wasn’t the job that they wanted.

                      People change and grow.

                      We can seek the work we love, that we do find uplifting and fulfilling – the content of the work may be good but what about the employer? What about job security? There are layers of “what if’s” once you finally do land that job you love that represents your values.

                      And that all comes back to the system which, as I said, is broken.

            • Murray Olsen 4.2.1.1.1.3

              To be fair, it must be hard to see anything from the place where you keep your head, confused. I know a few people who won’t use automatic checkouts, and some who won’t use ATMs. Some people, who have their heads out in the open air, see that society is made up of more than just themselves.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.2

          About 15 years ago, there was a prediction of a shrinking workforce (70%). Those that are employed, would only be the very skilled. I believe this is the way we are going, slowly.

          Nah, you’re going to be irrelevant and outsourced too. Don’t you understand that when it comes down to it, the 0.1% won’t have any hesitation in undermining the top 20%? As they are already doing in many western countries.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.3

          The question is, what to do with all the unskilled workers, and how will society function?

          That is the big question and it’s answer is to dump capitalism. Capitalism’s need to force people to work just doesn’t fit an economy that is a) at the end of growth and thus having to become a stable state economy so as to be sustainable and b) where employment as a percentage of population is rapidly decreasing.

          My own suggestion is to open up education and R&D so that we have more and more people looking at how things work and coming up with better ways to do things. Secondly, to get on a path to the elimination of money.

          • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.3.1

            Secondly, to get on a path to the elimination of money.

            I really don’t understand where you want to go with this. How are you going to run a society without a social and economic unit of account? Why would you want to?

            That is the big question and it’s answer is to dump capitalism. Capitalism’s need to force people to work just doesn’t fit an economy that is a)

            There are many forms of capitalism. The capitalism of secure jobs and full employment, competitive markets for products and services (but not labour), and SMEs is just fine – especially if it is democratically directed. Crony corporate capitalism is surely amongst the worst forms.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.3.1.1

              How are you going to run a society without a social and economic unit of account?

              Such a unit is only necessary when people don’t know what resources the society has available. Once that is known then democracy works fine for the distribution of goods and services.

              There are many forms of capitalism.

              Not as far as I can make out. The heart of capitalism is the private ownership and control of societies resources for the enrichment of the few. This results in an unsustainable over-use of those resources as we see today in farming, fishing and the quest to find and exploit more oil despite how damaging all of these things are to the environment.

      • Rosie 4.2.2

        Ditto Clashman. That is exactly what I do too. I know of others raise the point of job loss at the supermarket too when directed to the self service lane. The more, the better.

        I also heard a UK comedian, can’t remember who, who was commenting on this growing trend and resented being ushered toward the self service lane when he was waiting at a checkout. He said “Hang on, I don’t remember applying for a job at this supermarket!”

      • Richard Down South 4.2.3

        And people wonder why the unemployment rate is so high

      • QoT 4.2.4

        The ones at New Worlds are terrible. I fear that one day I’ll encounter the poor woman whose voice snaps “REMOVE YOUR ITEMS FROM THE BAGGING AREA!!!” at you, and reflexively headbutt her.

    • greywarbler 4.3

      Another lot of jobs taken over by technology/robots. These entry level jobs are supposed to serve as steps into better skilled better paying jobs. The steps get higher and further apart. People can fall down and hurt themselves trying to scale them.

      We are both robust and fragile, and need to look out for each other. I have been warned that when I visit a certain couple around Christmastime, I should be aware that the man is brain-damaged. He was a builder who fell off a roof onto his head. There are many ways to suffer from having work or the lack of it.

      We have to show concern for each other as vulnerable humans.

  5. infused 5

    Can’t say I’ve ever worked at a place with less than 10 days sick leave. When I was working for someone else, I’ve never used it all… apart from a new job I got, second week in to it, I had to take a week off. Didn’t look good.

    With my own business there is actually no cap on sick leave. Although my employees very rarely take it. I believe that’s because of what the article was talking about. Give employees time off to do what they need to do. Half a day here, half a day there. It avoids an employee going “cunt of a boss is not letting me have time off, gona pull a sicky”.

    There is alot of value in sick leave. If an employee is sick, and you push them to work, most likely you will burn them out and increase the amount of time they are sick.

    I’ve had one employee that I’ve had to ask for a certificate after two days, because I knew he was talking shit. When I asked for the cert, he basically said “I’m not paying to see the doc”… but he told me he was going to after hours to see a doc, and he didn’t.

    I know all this from being in business, so I’m sure other employers do as well. I think you will find it’s the bigger companies that lock down sick leave.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I think you will find it’s the bigger companies that lock down sick leave.

      This is about right. Policies made based on board room decisions in the USA.

    • you_fool 5.2

      So what you are saying is that making 10 days sick leave mandatory will have no impact on you and as such is a good idea

      • infused 5.2.1

        I already have it set as 10 days and it’s currently uncapped.

        The point I was trying to make is what this article is saying is that sick days can be avoided by actually listening to your staff and giving them time to do what they need to do.

        It’s all a bit of give and take really.

    • Rogue Trooper 5.3

      very balanced and sensible approach infused.

    • Macro 5.4

      “Can’t say I’ve ever worked at a place with less than 10 days sick leave.”

      well lucky you!

      In the US paid sick leave is now the exception rather than the rule.

      http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/workhours/sickleave.htm

      This is how “Business NZ” wants it to be, and with the TPPA that’s how NZ will be forced to become (eg the “hobbit legislation”). The law always sinks to the lowest level of justice.

  6. Ron 6

    Legalise ‘Mental Health Day’ and build it into employees rights.

  7. johnm 7

    Even machines require sick leave! Some of the self service check outs in the supermarket often are closed for repair and maintenance. Do they need a Doctor’s certificate for a day off work? If machines break down are humans supposed not to?

  8. shorts 8

    I fail to see how sick days are a cost to the economy?

    As stated this sort of thinking and statistics is devoid of any real world factoring… and a reflection on a mindset that sees workers as a burden not a benefit. We’re not perfect machines and the economy is not a person

    Oh well a summer of shark stories should be appearing anytime now…. relax and take a day off

    • Molly 8.1

      Agree. They might as well put in a statistic about the cost of photocopy paper – ie. Xeroxing costs NZ Business $3 billion dollars a year.

      The way the headline reads gives an indication of what the bias is. It shouldn’t be a surprise to literate humans that people can get sick and require time off.

    • Molly 8.2

      Agree. They might as well put in a statistic about the cost of photocopy paper – ie. Xeroxing costs NZ Business $3 billion dollars a year.

      The way the headline reads gives an indication of what the bias is. It shouldn’t be a surprise to literate humans that people can get sick and require time off.

  9. Bill 9

    That’s 5 days sick leave for the first 18 months of a new job…the 5 days per year routinely only kicks in after 6 months in the job. And that generally has to cover, not just the employee’s health, but that of any children they may have who fall sick.

    I believe WINZ staff ‘gave away’ their entitlement of unlimited sick leave for a cash payment just a couple of years ago.

    Given that an employer can ask for proof of illness, why isn’t unlimited sick leave the norm? And if my workmate wants to go to (say) the rugby, then why the hell should they have to ‘throw a sickie’? Why shouldn’t they take advantage of a pre-arrangement with their fellow employees whereby they simply take the day off on the understanding that their work will be covered by the others and that they will be obliged to go the extra mile for their workmates if and when one of them wants a day off for whatever reason.

    And before people recoil at the prospect of an employee ‘ripping the piss’ and taking endless days off – it wouldn’t happen. If it did, then their fellow employees would simply remove them from the agreed arrangement and they would be back to appealing to the boss or hoodwinking the boss.

    But sure, I know it’s just ludicrous to suggest workers are treated like adults. Keep em in line by treating them like children and subject to the whims of their betters. It’s the way it’s meant to be and how god intended it afterall.

    • People don’t “have to ‘throw a sickie'” to go to the rugby, they just need to take a single day’s annual leave. Correctly claimed, sick leave is of benefit to the employee and employer. But when people rip off the system, (bite the hand that feeds) no wonder that employers (and colleagues) get tetchy.

      • newsense 9.1.1

        rip off the system on average 4.5 days a year??

        are you just a tight cunt Duncan or do you genuinely think that on average workers taking 4.5 days off a year in sick leave is rorting the system?

        I do hope if this is the case you were out on the mo-f-ing streets about the double dipping blind trust super rort? No? then I suggest a dose of shut the f- up. How the fuck is that ‘biting the hands that feeds’ or ‘ripping off the system’?

        That would be like guaranteeing someone’s finance business won’t fail and then that business then taking on extra risk as it knew it was guaranteed in any case…

      • newsense 9.1.2

        rip off the system on average 4.5 days a year??

        are you just a tight cunt Duncan or do you genuinely think that on average workers taking 4.5 days off a year in sick leave is rorting the system?

        I do hope if this is the case you were out on the mo-f-ing streets about the double dipping blind trust super rort? No? then I suggest a dose of shut the f- up. How the fuck is that ‘biting the hands that feeds’ or ‘ripping off the system’?

        That would be like guaranteeing someone’s finance business won’t fail and then that business then taking on extra risk as it knew it was guaranteed in any case…

        If you are a manager or a boss I can understand why someone would be sick of listening to your garbage on top of having their job to do every day…

        • Duncan Brown 9.1.2.1

          Hi Newsense, No, I am neither a cunt, a manager or a boss. I am however, a worker who only takes sick leave when I or my wife are sick, or my kids when they were younger. I take annual leave when I want time off for other reasons.

          Should I ever need a lot of sick leave, it’ll be there accumulated for me, unlike other people I know of who take it as a right to take days off when non-sick, then expect their colleagues to cover for them when it really hits the fan. (present colleagues not included)

          In short, taking a day off when you are sick is a good idea and should be encouraged, but claiming sick leave when you are just skiving off is quite obviously biting the hand that feeds.

          • newsense 9.1.2.1.1

            how is it quite obviously biting the hand that feeds you?

            sorry if you are indeed everything you say you are. I was steamed off. and still am.

            If you are I’m sure you, like most employees, have worked your socks off when you have been under the weather at times when the work just needs to be done.

            I think if you are really concerned about ‘biting the hand that feeds’ you could show a bit of concern for the attack on workers who are creating a tremendous amount of value for company’s only to be attacked by the union of bosses who think that somehow they are getting ripped off by Kiwis taking on average 4.5 sick days a year.

            I think most of us will be sicker than that during the year, and this includes having to take sick days to look after their children.

            Fair enough to you that you aren’t sick that often and that your kids are healthy. That’s fortunate. Many are not.

            However,to me is a witchhunt.

            You might have seen in the census the median wage has dropped in real terms. This government has attacked wages and benefits so that many are in casual work with little protection or support. If the employers cared about that they could look in their own backyard, work on a culture of trust and provide good shifts, flu jabs, good health and safety checks and so on to attempt to reduce these things.

            I’m sorry again if I called you things you aren’t.

            But the biting of the hand that feeds is not in this statement being done by employees, but by this employers union who overall are receiving the benefits of an educated, hard-working workforce and attempting to decrease their quality of life for that. Get your mates to get a flu shot and take some responsibility, but don’t tar everyone by association.

            Looking at this overall this is just one more attack on workers by bosses on the back of a series of long attacks.

  10. captain hook 10

    these people are like the car manufacturers who say that their cars are so good now that they dont need a warranty.
    doublespeak and meanspiritedness are always the order of the day when National are inpower.
    They just love to kick people.
    thats more fun than being nice.
    Isn’t it?

  11. Matthew 11

    In the words of Kiwi cyclist Hayden Roulston you get sick when you don’t look after yourself.

    Kiwi employees need to up their game.

    • shorts 11.1

      is that world renowned health professional Hayden Roulston? No its not, its some dude who can peddle a bike faster than most others without falling off

      nice argument all the same

    • karol 11.2

      How can employees “look after themselves” if their employer imposes health-damaging requirements on them?

      some employers need to up their game – some seem to be all demands on the employee with no responsibility for some of the outcomes.

      • infused 11.2.1

        Well, I work between 40-80 hours a week, depending. I still manage to make it to the gym 4 nights a week, eat healthy and run 3-4 times a week.

        That is the kicker. It’s looking after yourself outside of work that counts. If you are unhealthy, you are going to be sick.

        • shorts 11.2.1.1

          you know healthy gym going hard workers get sick every single day – disease doesn’t make any judgement calls on whom to infect…. Bill Hicks might help you understand this simple fact – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awyiiK7JLHQ

          I await some clever type to now say the rich or employers never get sick – cause germs do discriminate

          • infused 11.2.1.1.1

            being sick isn’t just about getting the flu.

            • shorts 11.2.1.1.1.1

              no it isn’t – it could be cancer…. or a cough, an infected cut, depression, a car accident… or all manner of things – many of which all the good eating, gym going and hard working you do won’t reduce your potential risk

              if you’re unhealthy, (or living in poverty), you are be more prone to some illnesses just as over working and too much exercise will increase your risk of others – in this case smugness

              • infused

                Actually, being fit and healthy is good for most of what you just said.

                • Colonial Viper

                  People in the top decile of income live perhaps 10-15 years longer than those on the bottom decile.

                  I’m guessing that your personal weekly food budget is well over $75.

                  • Tracey

                    coincidence.

                    I noticed Bennett worked hard last evening to not use the word “poverty” in her response to the media. Key on the other hand used ” the breadline”. So perhaps the opposition ought to start adopting that phrase instead of poverty… and quote the PM (Farming Show 5.12.2013)

                  • infused

                    It’s around $90-$100 actually (for two people)

                    I tend to buy a lot of big mince packs / chicken etc, cook it and keep it for later.

                    For work I cook rice & chicken the night before. It’s all pretty bland to be honest.

                    • fender

                      Be careful to avoid getting ill from re-heated rice (quite common), I’d hate to see you beat yourself up over it.

                    • infused

                      I don’t reheat it 😉 Thanks for your concern though.

                    • fender

                      It’s not only caused by re-heating

                    • infused

                      Yeah, basically what you need to do, and what I have always done, is shove it in to a container as soon as it’s cooked and put it in the freezer for an hour.

                      This cools it right down, quickly, then you can move it to the fridge. Otherwise, it takes about 3-4 hours to cool in a fridge. With chicken etc it’s going to make you sick.

                      I don’t think I’ve ever been sick with this dish. It’s shit like KFC and kebabas that always leaves me feeling ill.

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      thanks fender; have taken note. 😀

                    • Lanthanide

                      I keep rice in the fridge for up to 2 days after it’s cooked, never had a problem with it. Mum does the same. When it gets to 3 days it’s thrown out.

                    • karol

                      And when do you find time to do the rest of your housework, infused?

                      Do you have children?

                      Workers with children have little time to spare?

                    • Rogue Trooper

                      infused appears the best of a bad bushel; thank heaven for small osmotic mercies.

                    • infused

                      No I don’t have children Karol, and that’s by choice. As you can see, where is the time?

                      I never really wanted to have them anyway… although the thought is growing on me.

            • Tracey 11.2.1.1.1.2

              nope, it can also be about the events, such a sexual abuse, that enter the lives of 1 out of 3 women and cause physical and mental problems.

        • Tracey 11.2.1.2

          and post regularly here, dont forget that.

          yet for all your health and fitness you can be quite lacking compassion for those not as enlightened as you.

      • fender 11.2.2

        “How can employees “look after themselves” if their employer imposes health-damaging requirements on them?”

        Exactly Karol. I guess an employee who gets ill from working in an asbestos contaminated environment unknowingly has only themselves to blame then.

    • fender 11.3

      Is that what led to him having irregular heart activity and caused his riding career to end for a period of time? Was that his own fault? What was he doing wrong…too much caffeine….or was it something stronger Lance Armstrong supplied?

      If the comment you attribute to him is true he sounds like an idiot, still better he took up riding than becoming a doctor.

    • Colonial Viper 11.4

      Kiwi employees need to up their game.

      And Kiwi employers need to support that with money, time and working conditions.

    • Tracey 11.5

      well, that settles that then.

    • newsense 11.6

      someone needs to up their game that’s for sure.

    • Foreign Waka 11.7

      I guess this does not include the forestry workers.

  12. Will@Welly 12

    I’m surprised no one has looked deeper into the reason behind this press release. With over a $billion being “lost” to ‘sickies’ is this the start of another propaganda programme that will eventually see sick pay wound back. Anything that saves employers money, National will support. Just look at all the other labour market reforms.
    The ‘casualisation of the workforce’ has seen so many rights and entitlements disappear. It this another one that will go?

  13. Will@Welly 13

    I’m surprised no one has looked deeper into the reason behind this press release. With over a $billion being “lost” to ‘sickies’ is this the start of another propaganda programme that will eventually see sick pay wound back. Anything that saves employers money, National will support. Just look at all the other labour market reforms.
    The ‘casualisation of the workforce’ has seen so many rights and entitlements disappear. It this another one that will go?

  14. Tracey 14

    Mandela has died.

  15. Rosie 15

    Thanks Ben for your article. Good points. Sick leave and the NZ employer attitude around it is one of my bug bears.

    5 days minimum annual sick leave is just not enough, and it displays a meanness of spirit and lack of understanding about the importance of recovery time, whether it be from a viral illness or any other personal medical problem. Also we often overlook our mental health and well being, (along with overlooking safety in the workplace) Not many employers are understanding (in my experience and that of others I have spoken with and what I’ve seen documented)of a worker calling in saying “I’m not coping, I need some time out”. It’s hard enough when a worker is treated resentfully by an employer on their return to work after having a physical illness.

    Another point:I reckon one of the most contagious places to be is on a bus during cold and flu season. People should be at home at this time recovering and keeping their viruses to themselves. Especially at the first sign of illness, they should stay at home home to prevent it going further, as Chooky as done, above. Onya Chooky. The winter bus run to work is disgusting, like being in a mobile respiratory ward with people coughing and sneezing all over you, with the heaters on excessively hot, so people are sweating as well, and then thrusted into a southerly blizzard when they hop off the bus. All very unhealthy.

    Lets bring in a 10 day minimum annual sick leave clause and have a huge public health campaign every winter about keeping your germs to yourself, and the consequences of not doing so.

    • Rogue Trooper 15.1

      The Importance of Convalescence to non- Psychos like us : 😀

      • Rosie 15.1.1

        Interesting points re recuperation Roguey. And you know, I am fascinated with the field of psychoneuroimmunology! Didn’t cover it enough when studying health psychology. On a related topic, I have a book called “The secret of Vigor” by Shawn Talbott (yes, US spelling) It is a corny title and the cover has those terrible stock photo’s of staged multi ethnic peoples leaping into the sky but there is an interesting chapter on Neuroplasticity.

        It states “….recent scientific studies have shown that how you think and experience stress can literally change the shape and structure of your brain. Researchers have known for several decades that chronic stress can lead to accelerated functional impairments and eventually to physical degradation of brain tissue……………….but it has only been recently that we have fully grasped the concept of “neuroplasticity” – the brains capacity to change it’s function and shape in response to experiences.”

        (p.34.)

        Long story short the author goes on to discuss how we can think ourselves well again (haven’t got to that bit yet, maybe I should pay attention)

        10 day minimum sick leave, good for starters though. Might help prevent us getting bent all out of shape to start with.

        • Rogue Trooper 15.1.1.1

          to use a metallurgical analogy; steel retains greater strength when it is heated and formed, as opposed to machined.

        • ghostrider888 15.1.1.2

          machined cold.

        • Tracey 15.1.1.3

          touched on a little of this through cognitive therapy. Once saw some studies which show pictures of the brain before making habitual changes, you could see from the before and after photos of the brain the physiological changes.

  16. Tim 16

    I’d leeeeerv to knoww what the stats re amongst people (i.e “the NZ People”; the permnint rezdints; the cit-zinry) of suckness and “genuine” -ill heakth peons that work for a pittance.
    More than likely, it’s something that can’t be measured (tho’ rest-assured something those that have pulled that ladder up) are very VERY well aware of – hence their fear – and their (so far), pretty bloody pathetic attempts to prevent the inevitable when Sheeple, 90 -99%ers – even 75%ers eventually waken.
    Rest assured I’ll be well away from it – probably somehwere in northern Darjeeling Injcha, or far far away from Jonolism, Jonkyism, rrrrrse-licking desperado attempts and propping up buzzzniss confdunce, Keyism “sssMajistee” pre/post/during ejaclulation of egotistical personas – so far having convinced a “pubic” – (Liz, Charlie, Dockyard Doris, the Dianna twins all in tow.
    No NO – fuck ’em all
    I did have a slight hope (and a WANT) of a Labour/Green future. I vowed never to vote Labour till neo-liberalism by Labour was acknowledged as a failed ideology – They’d taken for granted my voting habits since 2005.
    THEN, JUST has I hoped and thought there was a swing – along comes a Parker – ticked up all nice and cosy with a Mellid, and Matron in Hataitai, and half a dozen others!

    Labour’s time is running out – really it is. It isn’t just me either. It’s probably about 25 other votes tied to an extended whanau – let alone others in my ‘circle’ = people who are concerned about things such as democracy; local/community representation; the pervasiveness of neo-liberalism that ISN’T just seen and considered in economic/financial terms; the responsibility and accountability of gubbamint in providing for its citizenry .v. the democratic ‘minimalists’ (mostly those who have a heavy duty rop used to pull up ‘ladders) …….
    COULD GO ON, and on……., and on ……
    Dear Oh Dear – that fuckn Chorus share price has dropped again! – Oh shit —- look at MRP

  17. Rogue Trooper 17

    he he Tim 😀

    • Tim 17.1

      Well Drac – it is all pretty frikken pathetic aye!
      You look at many of those ‘liberals’ amongst your peers that protested against legit concerns – Springbok Tours, Dictatorial expectations of ‘so-called ‘allies that would have had us signed up to a programme of nuclear proliferation, all those concerning issues that have seen where we are now – THEN you look at them now – the Cokyard (oooops – typo: Dockyard) Dorises; the Rosie Macludds, The Natrad nicest men on Earth; those happy to leave their offspring with perhaps the largest mortgage mankind has ever seen …… and you wonder JUST how principled they ever were!
      Should have seen the signs tho’ really. Most of my Khandallah/Jville Onslow Col-going ‘progressives’ used to take their dirty undies home to mumsy to wash at weekends. A fair few of them these days constitute a modern Labour Party.
      All a bit of a bugger aye!

  18. Macro 18

    One of the primary aims of “good business practice” is to externalise costs – sick leave is a cost so obviously the best way to do this is to put the cost on the employee; and if that option is not available by some “ridiculous” employment law then to moan to the government and hope either for the public to take up the cost – sickness benefits – or else get the “ridiculous law” amended. Hence this so called “report”.

  19. Rosie 19

    By the way. Way up in the thread infused/confused just broke the cardinal rules of food safety by cooking his food and putting it in a container and popping it in a freezer straight away. Cooked food needs to be cooled before putting it in the freezer. Bacteria can grow inside food that is frozen from hot because the middle doesn’t cool as fast as the exterior. Food cools from the outside in. It may be cool on the outside but will remain warm while in the freezer, creating some lovely salmonella.

    Shop girls know this sort of shit.

    It’s amazing the confused has lasted long.

    • Lloyd 19.1

      Rosie
      If you put a packed container of hot food into a freezer the middle of the food will be frozen a lot faster than if you leave the same packed container on the bench and then put it in the freezer once it has cooled down to room temperature. Bacteria in the hot container put straight into the freezer will have less chance to grow than in a container cooled to room temperature then put into the freezer. This is basic thermodynamics.

      The down-side of putting a hot container straight into a freezer is that (1) it will warm everything else up in the freezer. If the container is very hot and large it may well thaw out other containers in the freezer which may be a problem, it may allow bacteria to grow in other food. (2) The freezer will have to use energy to extract the extra heat from the hot container, so you electricity bill will be a bit higher than if you insert only room temperature objects into the freezer.

  20. Macro 20

    meanwhile…. In the land of austerity and cutbacks under another tory couldn’t care less government……
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/malnutrition-cases-in-english-hospitals-almost-double-in-five-years-8945631.html

    and we want to follow suit. 🙁

    • Tim 20.1

      @ Macro – it seems we do. When a Parker pops up and drops a clanger, you’re left wondering JUST how committed to change (you can believe in) they are.
      Time’s running out really. After the recent Cunliffe ascention, I was considering a split vote as he started to offer all the right (as in correct) signs.
      2 steps forward, 1.5 backwards.
      …… and of course Labour has a habit of shooting itself in the foot.
      So ….. yeah …… nah….. maybe.
      Earth to Cunliffe!

    • Tim 20.2

      @ Macro – it seems we do. When a Parker pops up and drops a clanger, you’re left wondering JUST how committed to change (you can believe in) they are.
      Time’s running out really. After the recent Cunliffe ascention, I was considering a split vote as he started to offer all the right (as in correct) signs.
      2 steps forward, 1.5 backwards.
      …… and of course Labour has a habit of shooting itself in the foot.
      So ….. yeah …… nah….. maybe.
      Earth to Cunliffe!

  21. Tim 21

    @ Macro – it seems we do. When a Parker pops up and drops a clanger, you’re left wondering JUST how committed to change (you can believe in) they are.
    Time’s running out really. After the recent Cunliffe ascention, I was considering a split vote as he started to offer all the right (as in correct) signs.
    2 steps forward, 1.5 backwards.
    …… and of course Labour has a habit of shooting itself in the foot.
    So ….. yeah …… nah….. maybe.
    Earth to Cunliffe!

    Ooooh Ooooh – does it look like I’ve already said that?
    No worries …. it seems Labour might need it saying a thousand times over.
    Da Da David – we know things are a bit tenuous and you need to be a little careful of the careerists hanging on for grim death – but still – Not too hard to at least CLEARLY state a direction!

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