Journal article

The ‘Sickie’: A Public Sector Phenomenon?

M Wooden

Journal of Industrial Relations | Published : 1990


It is popularly believed that employees in the public sector are more prone to taking sick leave compared with otherwise similar employees working in the private sector. The evidence to support this view, however, is sporadic and of dubious quality. In this article, data is used from a nation-wide survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of a large representative cross-section of Australian employees-the 1983 Health Survey. It is found that public-sector-dominated industries do indeed have significantly higher rates of illness-related absence (only exceeded by rates in the mining industry). Moreover, such conclusions hold after controlling for a number of demographic and emplo..

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