Home Business News  A third of UK adults did not call in sick to work last year, despite pandemic 

 A third of UK adults did not call in sick to work last year, despite pandemic 

by LLB Reporter
7th Jan 22 11:00 am

A third of UK adults (32%) have not called in sick to work once in the past year, according to a new poll.

In fact, the survey by online printing specialists instantprint highlighted that just 2.3 million British workers took a day off sick due to Coronavirus in the past year¹, despite many employees still working from home

When quizzed on how their attitude towards calling in sick has changed since before the pandemic began, more than a fifth (22%) of those surveyed stated that it would now “take a lot” for them to do so. With coronavirus currently keeping many staff isolating at home, employees may feel obligated to come into work whether, physcially or virtually, while not feeling 100% in order to keep things running.

A fifth of Brits (21%) shared they’re actually less likely to call in sick now, only doing so for a serious illness such as Covid. While working from home may mean that some feel they can continue to work while recovering, two third (60%) of employees said they feel pressured to head into work when sick since the Covid pandemic hit.

In fact, 15% of UK adults believe there is now more pressure on them to go into work even when unwell following the pandemic. A further 17% stated they believe that unless they’re suffering from Covid or equally as serious illnesses, then there is likely to be pressure for them to not take a time off to get better.

Thirty-two per cent of UK workers said “they would be angry with any colleagues who came to work whilst under the weather”. Just 5% said that they didn’t feel that this behaviour would bother them.

Despite being faced with a global pandemic, Covid-19 is not one of the top 10 reasons UK adults called in sick over the past year. Instead, the flu (22%), the sniffles (18%) and headaches and migraines (12%) were the most common causes behind sick days taken by UK employees in 2021.

Perhaps even more surprising is that “the virus” was not voted as the number one reason UK employees believed to be a valid reason for calling in sick, which was reserved for having the flu (64%).  Both the death of a family member and Covid-19 and illnesses related to it, did claim joint second place on the list (53%). This means that shockingly, almost half of Brits (47%) believe you should still go to work if you’re grieving or if you have Covid-19.

Shockingly, just half of those surveyed felt as though a trip to A&E or being hospitalised (52%) was an acceptable excuse when calling in sick.

The survey found that the average number of sick days taken by UK employees across 2020 was 4 out of 256 possible working days, and more than half of Brits (56%) admitted to having pulled a sickie in the past year at least once to enjoy a day off work.  One in ten (9%) even divulged that they call in sick on a regular basis, despite not actually being unwell.

A third (33%) of Belfast residents admit that they regularly “pull a sickie” to bag an extra day off work, with Southampton (19%) and London (14%) joining them as the UK cities most likely to pull a sickie regularly.

Workers from Norwich (50%), Sheffield (50%) and Edinburgh (50%) were the UK cities found least likely to fake an illness for a day off, with half of those surveyed within each city stating that they “would never do so”.

Laura Mucklow, Head of instantprint, commented on the findings, “After another yet another long and unpredictable year, we were eager to revisit our earlier study which was conducted prior to the pandemic taking hold, which examined sick day stigma encountered by UK employees.

“There still looks to be some work to do in regard to the reasons UK employees believe to be a valid for taking a day off for their own health, especially following the pandemic.

“As a business, we believe that our employees’ health and wellbeing is an integral part of a happy and healthy workforce in the wider sense. We would encourage any business to ensure their staff to feel 100% comfortable about taking a day off for rest and recovery when required, without feeling any pressure to do the opposite.”

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