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Bumper long weekend: The shocking cost to the economy

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It’s a good time to be an employee, with many set for a bumper long weekend starting on Friday.

This year Good Friday, Easter Monday, Anzac Day, and two weekends all fall with just three business days in between.

Easter and Anzac Day will not fall in the same week again until 2025, so many Aussies are planning to take those three business days off, resulting in a 10 day break.

But not everyone is taking the days off officially.

There are expected to be an extra 200,000 sick days taken during the holiday period, costing the economy an estimated $60 million dollars.

Natasha Hawker, director of Employee Matters, encouraged employers to crack down on sick days.

“It’s really important that employers actively discourage these sickies, and actually ask for doctors certificates,” she told 3AW Breakfast.

For businesses which remain open over the entire holiday period, continuing to work also comes at a cost.

“It’s very expensive,” Steve Smith, Head of National Workplace Relations Policy of the Australian Industry Group told 3AW’s Tony Jones.

Mr Smith said every public holiday comes at a cost of $1 billion dollars due to penalty pay rates.

“Double time and a half is the typical penalty rate for a public holiday,” he said.

Ms Hawker said, for many employees, taking annual leave over the holiday period is a good idea.

“If they have sufficient leave accrued and they’re not going to be leaving their team short and unable to deliver, then yes they could take it,” she said.

“Many of these employees have children who are also on school holidays at the moment and it can mean some quality and quantity time together.”

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