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Health and wellness

Typhoon Mangkhut’s inability to dampen Hongkongers’ true grit puts Australian ‘sickie’ mindset to shame

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 September, 2018, 1:09pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 September, 2018, 1:09pm

The sentiments expressed by Post letter writers about the moral and economic impact of taking time off work in the aftermath of catastrophic Typhoon Mangkhut signals the singular work ethic of Hongkongers (“Want Hong Kong leader to ‘order’ a day off after typhoon? Be careful what you wish for”, September 25), (“Hong Kong workers had no case for a day off after Typhoon Mangkhut, and Carrie Lam reacted with humility”, September 21) (“No holiday for Hong Kong after typhoon was the right decision, despite pain of getting to work”, September 21). We in leisure-chasing Australia could learn from Hong Kong’s example.

The average Australian takes their entire allowance of 10 days of sick leave each year, without the rigours of strong winds and critically damaged unsafe public transport, housing and work infrastructure. Our tendency to “throw a sickie” is tolerated as nationally approved gaming.

Hong Kong’s Citybus union threatens to sue company over ‘discriminatory’ policy reducing bonus of drivers with more sick leave

In my own experience, sick leave taken fraudulently by doctors and nurses leads to more stressful workloads and adverse risks for staff that do turn up. It seems to me that half of all sick leave taken in Australia is as a selfish entitlement to have rest and recreation. The expectation is those who turn up for work will make up the shortfalls and assume responsibility for clinical and stress-related errors and delays or deficiencies in care.

I would support at least one day off work in Hong Kong to take a breather from a natural disaster, and counsel against your admirable reluctance to do so.

Full disclosure: I have 150 days’ sick leave accrued over 25 years.

Joseph Ting, Brisbane