Nine out of ten workers prefer to get up and go to their jobs rather than stay at home if they feel ill, a five-year study said yesterday.
And in further evidence that the days of ‘pulling a sickie’ are vanishing fast, it reported that four out of ten workers took no time off ill at all last year.
The diminishing likelihood that people will go sick from work, charted in surveys conducted for the Canada Life insurance group, underlines official assessments that say such absences have been falling steadily over the past 25 years, particularly in private industry, small businesses and among young people.
However the study authors warned that ‘presenteeism’ can affect productivity and increase the chance that workers will leave their jobs.
Nine out of ten workers prefer to get up and go to their jobs rather than stay at home if they feel ill, a five-year study said yesterday (stock photo)
It said that the dominance of information technology has made employees join a culture in which they are always effectively at work, checking their emails and putting in extra hours on a routine basis, even when they are ill.
The report, based on a survey of 1,000 workers, said 89 per cent have gone to work when they are ill. In 2018, it said, 42 per cent of workers took no time at all off work sick.
Among those who stayed at home when they thought they were ill, nearly six out of 10 said they didn’t think they were sick enough to qualify for a day off work.
More than a quarter, 27 per cent, said their workload was too much for them to contemplate taking time off, even when they were sick.
Concerns about the possible career damage of taking time off sick were cited less often. Fewer than a quarter, 23 per cent, said they worried about the money implications of taking time off.
Among those who stayed at home when they thought they were ill, nearly six out of 10 said they didn’t think they were sick enough to qualify for a day off work (stock photo)
Fewer than one in five worried about colleagues either taking advantage of their absence or letting the employer down – some 18 per cent said they ‘would not want to hand over important work to colleagues unless it was really necessary.’
Some 12 per cent, fewer than one in eight, said they were too worried about losing their job to take time off, and just eight per cent stayed at work out of concern that they would not be given a sicknote by a doctor.
But working while unwell, sometimes called presenteeism, brought its own problems, the study found.
Paul Avis of Canada Life said: ‘Presenteeism is counterproductive as it signifies employees do not believe illness is taken seriously in their organisation, which has a negative impact in the long run in terms of staff retention and productivity.’
Office for National Statistics figures show that between 1993 and 2017 the number of sick days fell from 178.3million to 131.2million a year. A typical worker took off 7.2 days in 1993 and 4.1 days in 2017.
Sickness rates are much higher among state employees. In the Health Service and public sector health organisations, some 3.3 per cent of employee time was lost to sickness in 2017, nearly double the private sector rate of 1.7 per cent.
Source : Mail Online