Stamp out sickie bludgers

BRIAN Dorey has only ever taken one sick day in his entire working life of 55 years.

It's clear he doesn't abuse the system.

But under the Federal Government's new industrial relations overhaul, Mr Dorey could be asked to produce a medical certificate if he decides to take just one day off sick. ? "It's atrocious,'' Mr Dorey remarked upon hearing of the proposed changes.

"It's a dreadful imposition on a person's integrity if they are feeling sick and have to drag themselves along to a doctor to miss one day off work.''

Mr Dorey worked as a journalist for The Morning Bulletin for 25 years and has worked for Livingstone Shire Council since 1973, where he is deputy mayor.

Mr Dorey said he was forced to take that one day off for a hip replacement, but informs us he was back at council on his crutches for the next meeting.

He said while he understood the new laws were designed to stamp out sick leave cheats, he believed workers should get the benefit of the doubt for at least the first day.

"I really disagree with it,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Rockhampton Chamber of Commerce chairman Patrick Haddock believed the proposed laws were "excellent''.

Mr Haddock said the changes would ensure people could no longer chuck sickies and unfairly pass the buck.

"How many people just take a sickie for one day and abuse the system?

"If you throw a sickie on a Friday, do you think it's fair on the other workers? No.''

Mr Haddock said the reforms would not affect people who were genuinely ill, as he believed they would be either sent home sick or would need more than a day to recover anyway.

Commerce Queensland CQ regional manager John Lamb said the laws would spell the end of the sickie.

"This is about getting rid of the great Australian sickie. Everybody has been guilty of a sickie.''

Mr Lamb said most awards currently allowed for about two sick days before a worker was required to produce a certificate.

Under the changes, employers could decide whether staff needed a certificate for just one day.

Mr Lamb said employers could be entitled to withhold sick pay if workers could not produce a certificate, but he urged bosses not to be too tough.

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