Burnout in the Australian workforce is likely increasing due to a rise in sick leave being taken, new data from the Australian Payroll Association (APA) shows.

Following the World Health Organisation's recognition of employee burnout as a workplace issue, the APA surveyed 601 Australian payroll managers to find out if this was affecting Australian businesses.

In the retail and eCommerce industry, 31% of those surveyed indicated that they have noticed an increase in sick leave in their organisation.

Overall, the survey found that 35% of respondents across large and small businesses have noticed an increase in sick leave across their workforce.

71% of respondents indicated that there are employees in their organisation that haven't taken their annual leave for more than 18 months outside of forced closure periods.

Meanwhile, 72% of those surveyed indicated that they have no system in place to ensure that employees take their annual leave every year.

According to the results, larger organisations have seen a growing sick leave rate while also seeing a higher proportion of employees failing to take annual leave.

APA CEO Tracy Angwin said that systems that ensure employees take their annual leave help to battle employee burnout.

"An increased feeling of workplace burnout could be due to organisations placing higher levels of pressure on employees.

"Often, employees could also be stressed about personal or financial issues that might have nothing to do with work but can be worsened by rising tensions in their work environment.

"It falls to employers of all organisational sizes to ensure that their employees take their entitlements when needed.

"Payroll managers can take this a step further by putting systems in place that ensures that employees take a certain amount of annual leave per year.

"A workplace where employees feel comfortable to use these entitlements is more likely to be a more productive work environment," she said.


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