The first Monday of February is National Sickie Day, which according to statistics is the day when most ‘sickies’ are pulled. On this day we’re calling on employers to track and monitor absence to avoid huge costs to their business.
New research by Viking Office Supplies highlights that 56% of workers in the past year have pulled a sickie, costing UK businesses £5.6 billion. This is despite the Office of National Statistics seeing a decline in office sick days in the past few years.
Other research by property agent, Savoy Stewart found that the top five sectors with employees that are most likely to pull a sickie are Retail; Leisure, Sport and Tourism; Recruitment and HR; Marketing, Advertising and PR and Sales.
The company also found that the top reasons for employees pulling a sickie are; a poor mental health day, being hungover and not being bothered, however, the main excuses given to their employer were food poisoning, vomiting and flu.
While sickness absence is on the decline, there are still significant numbers of employees willing to lie about being sick and taking days off. Employers are also seeing rising levels of presenteeism - people coming into work who are unwell, often due to high pressure at work and workers feeling unable to take time off.
Both issues cost businesses money, with lack of productivity from people either not being there or not being fit enough to work. However, we find many employers are in the dark about the true extent of absences and the reasons for them. Our advice on National Sickie Day is for employers to make use of technology to track and monitor absence.
Investing in absence management software can help companies monitor trends and keep on top of absence rates. It gives employers a complete overview of what is going on in their organisation in terms of when people are off, how often and why. It also prompts return to work interviews.
This can flag up ongoing health issues such as stress or anxiety, which the company could then offer support for, as well as acting as a deterrent to pulling a fake sickie as people know that it will recorded and followed up with a back to work interview.