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Covid and bullying hit workplaces hard, huge support for increased sick leave - survey

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New data from the CTU’s annual work life survey shows a snapshot of working people’s experiences and outlook heading out of 2020 and into the new year.

Concerningly 42% of respondents cite workplace bullying as an issue in their workplace - a number only marginally down on last year - and 49% say they have had their work and/or income adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there is massive support from working people for the Government's planned increase in minimum sick leave from five days to ten days with 94.3% in support.

CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges says the results show a working population that feels vulnerable at work. "When you look at the comments people are making it becomes pretty clear that people don’t feel like they have much control over their work lives. That’s pretty bleak given people spend so much of their life at work.

"It’s inexcusable that so many people are facing bullying, but given the imbalance of power between employers and workers in most Kiwi workplaces it’s not surprising.

"Workplace bullying is so widespread that it needs to be seen and addressed as a structural issue rather than just passed off as a ‘few bad eggs’.

"There is a similar sense of vulnerability when you dig into people’s responses on the negative effect COVID has had on them. It’s not simply a matter of people losing their jobs, it's that they’re left with no say in really important issues at work.

"Far too many people have been expected to pick up the cost of covid through unpaid hours, haven’t been consulted about how to deal with health and safety processes and have had decisions about their leave and pay and conditions decided unilaterally by their employers.

"That’s not good enough, nationally we have been successful as a team of five million by working together - that needs to carry over into our workplaces too."

The one piece of good news on the horizon is the Government’s proposed increase in sick leave, says Ansell-Bridges.

"More than ninety four percent of working people back the increase in minimum sick leave from five days to ten days.

"That massive support shows just how needed this is and that the Government needs to move on it quickly.

"Too many kiwis just don’t have enough sick leave and are left with the choice of either losing pay or turning up to work and spreading whatever illness they have. That’s no good for them, their employers or their communities."

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