Thursday, August 02, 2007


The Larvatus Prodeo academics are truly a hard-working bunch. Back in March Mark Bahnisch complained about his energy-sapping 18 hour teaching workload. Now casual academic Gandalf the Greedy reveals that in an effort to maximize his pay he's "over-extended and run-down" and as a consequence has come down with a "respiratory illness not once (which is usual) but twice". Unfortunately for his co-workers, Gandalf refuses to take time off:
If I’m absent from work due to illness, I don’t get paid. I do get a 23 per cent loading on my basic hourly wage in lieu of entitlements such as sick leave which I would receive if employed on a more secure basis. In theory part of that loading is supposed to constitute a satisfactory substitute for paid sick leave, in that presumably if I salted away the loading I would save enough to tide me over the periods of reduced or no pay due to illness. In practice it doesn’t work like that. Particularly in the period until the end of April, casual university staff need every dollar they earn each fortnight to fill the personal financial hole which develops over the summer. At at the times when I fell ill, when I did my sums I calculated that I would be, at least temporarily, seriously impecunious if I didn’t do the work I was contracted to do. So I soldiered on, and foul contagion spread.
Rather than take another job, Gandalf is in his 12th year of exploitative employment; the work must have something going for it. Just imagine what he'd have to complain about if he was one of the more than 1.5 million Australians who choose to be self-employed and accrue no sick leave, 35% of them working more than 50 hours a week. Oddly, the self-employed don't seem to be complaining.

Regardless, maybe Gandalf should have taken up plumbing. The market knows where the value is.

Update: Amateur epidemiologist tigtog worries money-short casuals might spread the black death by working when ill.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that site. Nothing is too stupid to write about. In that sense Tig Tog adorns the site. She would have to be the stupidest person alive which is quite an accomplishment for LP.

1:54 PM  

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