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Companies head off the sickie rush by offering long weekend

There was barely a breeze to cool the sunbaking bodies dotted across Bronte Beach on Thursday, many of whom are looking forward to yet another day off work - and even warmer weather - in an unofficial, extra-long weekend.

In an effort to minimise productivity loss due to sickies, several big companies have encouraged staff to take Friday off and make the most of the Anzac public holiday.

National director of people and performance at Colliers International Warwick Bowd said the voluntary policy was introduced to encourage ''lower absenteeism and high performance'' at the real estate services company.

Big banks such as Westpac, NAB and ANZ have suggested staff take advantage of the break. ''We're encouraging people in areas such as headquarters staff who want to make a long weekend of it to take an extra annual day's leave,'' a spokesman said.

Last year, CBRE targeted Easter, Anzac Day, the Queen's Birthday and Labour Day as a way to reduce annual leave balances, a spokeswoman said. ''We've done it in consultation with staff. We've never forced anyone to take leave but we have been actively encouraging them and we've been doing it around times where it makes sense … such as this Friday because it gives them a really nice four-day weekend,'' she said.

David Olofsson took a day of annual leave from his job as a marketing manager at engineering firm ABB, to spend time with his wife Ida Bodin and their seven-month-old Elsa. They had a swim at Bronte on Thursday and plan to go to Manly on Friday. ''It was no problem. I would say they encouraged it because they want to have a pleasant and good workplace,'' he said.

Peter Zmijewski, a meteorologist at the weather bureau, said those opting for a four-day weekend should expect 25 degrees on Friday and temperatures in the mid-20s until Tuesday.