One in four people have admitted to pulling a ‘sickie’ in the last two years according to a recent survey carried out in the UK by Cezanne HR.

The research, aimed at discovering workers’ attitudes to faking illness in order to take time off work, revealed that 26 percent of employees have thrown a sickie in the last two years, with one in four confessing to have done it three or more times. Nearly half of employees also reported they has considered it.

From the 500 respondents surveyed, women were marginally more likely to have used illness as an excuse for not attending work (64% v 62%), but men confessed to doing it more often.

Younger people were also revealed to be more likely to have pulled a sickie with 46 percent of 18-24 year olds saying they had done so. This is compared to 19 percent of 45-54 year olds.

When asked whether they thought it acceptable to throw a sickie, 60 percent said never, regardless of the circumstances, however 15 percent of these, had thrown one anyway.

32 percent felt it was acceptable only under certain circumstances and 8 percent seemingly had no qualms with the practice, regardless of circumstance.

Sue Lingard, marketing director at Cezanne HR, says:

“Company culture may be at the root of how employees actually behave. If people who believe it’s unacceptable to pull a sickie still do so, it seems likely that they feel they can’t be honest about the real reason for needing time off work”.

The survey also revealed a great deal of sympathy for working parents and those with families, with 64 percent of respondents saying they felt it would be acceptable to ‘pull a sickie’ if a child was sick, and 48 percent for other family reasons. 16 percent of people felt it was OK to call in sick in order to attend an interview.

Sue Lingard continues:

“While throwing a sickie may seem trivial, the reality is that it can be costly and disruptive for employers – not to mention unfair on colleagues who are left to pick up the slack.”

“Businesses that can find a way to help employees balance work and family commitments –for example, making it acceptable for employees to work from home, swap shifts with colleagues or make up time if they have an emergency, are likely to see positive impact not only on attendance, but on staff morale and engagement too.”

When discovering how sickness was reported, 81 percent said they reported sickness by phone, nine percent using email, five percent by text and four percent through online HR software.