– The average worker in the UK takes five sick days a year
-Five million absences were attributed to the 2006 World Cup

The number of sick days taken this summer is set to increase by up to 20 per cent, warns managing partner, Alison Loveday from Manchester-based law firm Berg. Loveday urges employers to prepare for the unprecedented number of unauthorised absences before the UK celebrates the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Queen’s Jubilee.

A survey conducted by PwC revealed that only a third of managers have considered how they will handle staff absenteeism during Games times. Managing partner and head of employment at Berg, Alison Loveday, comments: “The issue of absenteeism needs to be discussed now. I would advise businesses to put in place more flexible absenteeism policies for June, July and August to ensure absences are planned and prepared for in advance.

“High absenteeism negatively affects all employees. Productivity and quality of work is hindered by inconsistent attendance. Employees can grow resentful if forced to pick up their co-workers slack. Externally, a firm’s relationships with other businesses can also be affected if phone calls go unreturned and emails unanswered when the workforce is low.

“Unplanned absences hit a business much harder than absences that are authorised by management. Businesses can prepare for absenteeism and make the blow lighter, but only if they are informed. To best ensure that employees don’t ‘pull a sickie’ when they are actually attending or watching an event, employers need to create open lines of communications.

“Managers should also note that this summer is not solely a threat to productivity and profit but an opportunity to increase morale and strengthen team bonds. Employers could organise office outings to watch events at one of the many outdoor screens around the country or throw themed socials for the employees who aren’t lucky enough to attend an event.”