Cold and flu season is around the corner and getting sick could cost you far more than you might think.
Finance expert Canna Campbell calculated the true cost of a cold, which could reach as high as $11,000 per year.
One unpaid day of sick leave might not seem too problematic, but costs can quickly add up and further impact already-stressed families.
Around 2.7 million Aussie employees were not entitled to paid leave as of August 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
For most Aussies, cost-saving measures are already top of mind. But Campbell said many weren’t aware of the financial cost this cold and flu season.
“Looking at what the average Australian earns, which is just over $94,000 a year, and with 260 working days per year, each day from work could cost you $361.53 before tax,” Campbell said.
“If you are a growing family, with unpaid sick leave and daycare costs, those two to five colds per year can cost you up to $737.53 each day.
“If you need 3 days to recover, this escalates to $2,212.59 per cold, which could cost up to $11,000 per year.”
Campbell said the larger the family, the larger the potential financial hit, thanks to germs spreading throughout day care centres and schools.
Mother and business owner Melissa Neville knows first-hand just how much a cold can impact a family.
“When we get a call that our kids are sick and need to be picked up from school, it often means we need to stay home from work to care for them,” Neville said.
“Their germs will usually spread through our family, which creates an endless domino effect impacting our ability to work and make an income.”
For Aussies who don’t work in a traditional corporate setting with benefits such as sick leave, the ramifications of a cold can be significant. Jobs such as trades, contractors, freelancers and business owners don’t have the same protections or flexibility that other employees may have. As a result, they are more likely to suffer from lost wages.