‘Tis the season for a sickie


by Andrew Gigacz


I’m sitting in the office looking out at a beautiful sunny Melbourne spring day. This would be a perfect day to activate one of my “seasonal leave” days, I reckon. Or it would be, if such a thing existed.
I first came up with the concept of seasonal leave a long time ago when working with a large financial organisation. The idea is this – on top of your four weeks annual leave and your sick leave you get one seasonal leave day for each of the four seasons of the year. These would be days to be used at your own discretion. They are for those mornings when you wake up, look out the window and see the sun shining; not a cloud in the sky and not a breath of wind. And you say. “Bugger it. It’s too nice a day to be working today. I’m going to call in my seasonal leave day.”
Of course you could only do this if you had no important meetings to attend to and no pressing tasks that had to be completed by that day. It would have to fit in with your employer’s needs. But how good would it be, having four days a year like that that you could activate without guilt?

Some would argue against the concept. It would cost the economy millions of dollars per year, they’d say. But I don’t think it would. You see a lot of people already do what I’m talking about. Except when they do, they call in “sick”. They chuck a sickie. The call, text message or email comes in, “Sorry mate, got a doozie of a migraine and won’t be in today. Hopefully see you tomorrow.” But with four seasonal leave days a year, I think such sickie-taking would drop dramatically.
I can hear the cries now: “But people would abuse the system. They’d take the sickies AND the seasonal leave.” Yes, some people would do that. There will always be someone who will rort the system. But I reckon most people would say, “how good is this employer, giving me a bonus four days a year?” Assuming they don’t hate the work they’re doing, they’re less likely to want to take a sickie. A lot of sickies are taken simply because people occasionally just get a bit jack of what they have to put up with at work, or because they just need a “mental health” day. If they feel guilty about taking it off, they’re hardly going to come back the next day in a better state of mind. But if the boss says, “sure, you need and deserve a break; take the day off”, they’ll come back keen to do well and be productive. And not many would argue that a better state of mind leads to better overall health which, in turn, would potentially result in fewer sick days.
Many years ago, I agitated for the introduction of “seasonal leave” at the large organisation for which I worked. The concept never got off the ground. I never expected it to. I couldn’t come up with any hard and fast data that would quantify how it would “benefit” that behemoth of an institution.
This is a concept is based on instinct. Treat people, customers and employees, nicely and you will be rewarded. In time you probably could quantify what the net gain or loss would be, if you really had to. For big employers at least, I reckon it’s a gamble worth taking. Maybe it might even help sway the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather forecasters, who are currently considering industrial action as part of pay increase claims, from actually taking such measures.
Now please excuse me while I go and take a quick walk in the sun before I get back to the daily grind.


About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?


  1. Gigs – just got back from my daily sanity walk. Beautiful day.

    The problem with your concept is that people in the South would get more days off. We have 4 seasons. In the north they only have wet and dry. The result is that we ‘Mexicans’ would be accused of being ‘seasonist’.

  2. Dips, I’m sure the Northerners could negotiate for two days pers season.

    Just stepping out for a walk now. Might bump into Her Majesty.

  3. If you were to ask a developer mate of mine, I’m sure he’d say “seasonal days off” were a common thing back in the 80s and 90s when unions were in their prime. They’d regularly down tools for many and varied (and often obscure) reasons but to the casual observer, there did appear to be a very, very close link with the weather (both good and bad).

  4. They could have wild pig and barra leave up north.

    What type of leave will you have when the Doggies win the big one Gigs?

  5. Phantom, when the Dogs win the big one I’ll be taking miracle leave.

  6. Or leave of your senses perhaps.

  7. That happened a long, long time ago, Phantom.

  8. Autumn leave has a nice ring to it.

  9. Andrew,

    How about a day off for your birthday? For the majority of us who don’t take “religious” leave this would be the next best thing!

  10. Happy with that, Anthony. One day birthday leave plus 4 seasonal days makes an even week on top of the standard 4.

  11. Peter Schumacher says

    How about “pissed off” leave. This could be used in two ways, (1), totally pissed of with work and / or work comrades. pissed off to the golf, cricket, whatever, a multi purpose thing.

  12. Tony Roberts says

    Gigs, loved your use of the term ‘mental health day’ – when working as a librarian, Dave Nadel used to refer to a chronic condition of ‘industrial diarrhoea’, and a woman I knew who’d done Philosophy at uni filled in a sick-leave form with ‘nausea’ (after Sartre).

  13. Andrew Starkie says

    GIGS, teaching in the Catholic school system gives you monday of cup week off. Gold.

  14. Andrew, I used to work in the Catholic “system”. The Grrel kids really cashed in. They took the million days off that were on the school’s calendar and then added Greek Easter, name days and other obscure non-negotiables!

  15. Nice weather for a Seasonal Leave Day, eh ‘Knackers?

  16. “Leave” it alone Gigs.

  17. I am Phantom. Currently sitting in my office, trying to ignore the expanse of blue sky calling to me through the window at my right.

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