Member Article

Absenteeism reaches peak

Today is set to be the worst day of the year for staff absenteeism, but the difficult economic climate will dissuade the workshy from taking more than one day.

Research shows that workers will be tempted to ‘pull a sickie’ by a combination of wintry weather, dark morning starts, and then length of time until their next holiday.

Alongside forcing other staff to take on extra tasks, it is estimated that Monday 6th February, or ‘National Sickie Day’, will cost the UK more than £34 million in salary, reduced service and output, lost opportunities and overtime payment incurred.

Nonetheless, the gloomy financial situation means that most staff will now only dare to spend one day at a time off work.

Peter Mooney, head of employment law at business support specialist, ELAS, said: “We have been keeping a close eye on absenteeism for years, and there has always been a sizeable number of skivers who, having phoned in sick once, award themselves a second day to make their illness look more believable.

“But in the past 12 months, a combination of the stuttering economy and managers finally grasping the nettle over absenteeism has seen that particular trend end.”

Figures indicate that as many as 400,000 UK workers will throw a sick day, which also represents a significant increase on February 2011.

Mr Mooney added: “You might expect that those people lucky enough to have a job in the current economy might do everything within their power to keep it, but our research has found that that’s not the case.

“If anything, the constant doom and gloom about struggling businesses and public sector cuts seems to make people more likely to treat themselves when they can – and an unofficial day off work is one perk many people feel they’re entitled to from time to time.

“The good news is that managers are finally doing something about it. After years of letting standards slip by allowing staff to text or email in sick rather than phoning, managers are now getting the message and tackling absenteeism head on.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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