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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sick pay

Okay, I know I said I was taking a break from this blogging caper to do some home work, but I'm sick. Far too sick to work or study, but nowhere near sick enough to prevent me from outpouring my near hallucinogenic ravings onto the world wide web.

In truth, I would rather be at work than at home alone - feeling the immense guilt I do by having a sick day. Even though I am allowed to be at home, my office will not fall down around me if I am gone, and I am better off here than slumped over my desk I still feel bad about taking the day off. Hell, I am even getting PAID to be at home curled up in a ball with a box of kleenex and some Vegiemite toast.

It's a hospitality thing. Ask any bartender, porter, waitress or whatever how they feel about taking a sick day. "Huh," will be about as far as it gets. In the hospitality industry, sick days are reserved for the most heinous of hangovers. No-one takes a sick they when they are actually sick!

And hospitality staff are sick a lot. The huge number of illnesses aflicting hospitality staff is a no-brainer - it's all the sex. That's right, sex. It's hard not to catch the flu/virus/gastro bug going about when everyone is shagging bloody everybody. I didn't wait tables for 10 years because I love to carry plates (if you know what I mean). Your local cafe is a sesspool of germs because every-one has shagged every-one and we all drink far too much, smoke like chimneys and take lots and lots of drugs. It's a great lifestyle (I'm very serious.)

We are loathe to take a sick day because of money. Most of us shit-kicking, low-level, minimum wage groupies do not get any semblance of sick pay. And you can forget about annual leave. Hands up if you have even been served by a waiter who is obviously green around the gills. That would be about all of us. Most of us live so close to the poverty line just one sick day could mean the difference between paying rent or getting evicted. It's a horrible generalisation, but in my experience it's mostly true.

I recall working 14 days straight while being a stones through from pneumonia once, all because I never took a break. You just don't. Sick days mean your manage hates you. Your colleagues definitely hate you - they're the ones who have to pick up all your slack. It's just too difficult to negotiate a sick day. Better to show up at work, pass out, and be put in a taxi home - because that's the only way you'll get the day off.

1 comment:

sammin said...

Having been a Chef (which I practically killed myself doing, health wise) I completely agree with you.
Enjoyable reading.
Sam