Over half of UK workers pull fake ‘sickies’

Almost 60 per cent of Brits have pulled a sickie from work in the past three years despite not being ill, new research has revealed.

The survey of 1,000 British employees, carried out by leading workforce management solutions developer, Timeware (UK), found that despite the number of employees falsely claiming to be sick in the past three years, almost 90 per cent of those surveyed did not consider absenteeism to be a problem in their workplace. 

As part of the research, which set out to investigate absenteeism and productivity in the UK workplace, employees were asked what the reasons were for their unplanned absences in 2014. While the survey found sickness was still the number one reason for absenteeism, 20 per cent of respondents blamed childcare issues, 17 per cent put it down to relationship problems.

Simon Birchall, managing director of Timeware, said: “Employees are bound to miss work from time to time, for a vast variety of reasons. However, while some are genuine reasons to be off work, others are not.

“When implementing workforce management solutions for our customers, absence management is a key issue that crops up time and time again. As such, we decided to commission our own research to get a better insight into the state of absenteeism in the UK – and the results have provided some insightful data!

“The results from our report have highlighted that in the UK there appears to be a serious problem with people falsely claiming to be sick when in reality there is another reason for their absence.

“These figures really illustrate that more work needs to be done to understand why some people do not feel they are able to disclose the real reasons for their absences – so that employers can better support their employees and to try to reduce avoidable absenteeism in the future.”

Other reasons, such as hangovers, lack of motivation for the job and conflict at work were also listed for absenteeism, however transport issues was the most common reason with 43 per cent of respondents having used this excuse in 2014. 

Despite statistics by ACAS highlighting that absenteeism is costing the economy an average of £17 million a year. The report also features a number of actionable insights to help business across the country to put in place strategies to effectively deal with all types of unplanned absence, whether that’s health related or not. This includes take-away advice on how businesses can effectively monitor and reduce the rate of absenteeism, and the consequent positive effects that this has on business, for example, helping to improve overall efficiency.



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