National Sickie Day: how many of your staff are in?

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National Sickie Day: How many of your staff are in?

Today (03/02/20) is National Sickie Day, the first Monday of February when your staff is most likely to call in sick.

Numerous reasons have been given to this day being a hotbed for employees pulling a sickie, such as it being the first payday following Christmas and so employees have been out at the weekend partying. Also as January is a month when a large number of workers apply for new jobs, people may be taking this day off to attend an interview.

Still, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that office sick days over the past few years have been declining.

Last year, there were an estimated 350,000 absencies from work on the first Monday of February in 2019. Savoy Stewart, a property agent also found that the top reasons for employees pulling a sickie; is 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.

Insight, a provider of intelligent technology solutions found that in 2019, 8.6 million UK workers took a sick day due to feeling overworked, processes and technology making it too hard to get work done, or not liking the people at their workplace.

BrightHR also found that in 2019, it was Westminster city to be the council with the highest staff sickness.

However, despite the trend to call in sick on this day, Gen Z and millennials do not seem to follow it. As 88 per cent of Gen Z and millennials feel under pressure to avoid taking sick days. Half (50 per cent) of Gen Z and millennials would come in to work after having a medical appointment, 61 per cent do not think a fever is a justified reason for a sick day and 71 per cent believe poor mental health is not a good enough reason.

Adrian Lewis, director at Activ Absence said:

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.

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