Many employees enjoy their jobs. Working for a living is a reality of life, and most people get on without any major problems. But there are times when people will need to take time off. Sickness is a natural part of life, but when employees take sick days without any need, questions need to be asked. Of both the worker and the employer. There are usually good reasons why people pull sickies, and that’s what we’re gong to explore here. What are the reasons people are taking the day off sick, and could it be a sign of something wrong within your workplace?


Sickies by Numbers

National Sickie Day happens every February, with it usually being around 5th February. This is typically the day that more people take off sick than any other. While many will be genuinely ill – think of the wintery time of year coupled with the spreading off illness – but other people will be taking advantage. And the numbers are interesting to read just how people taking insincere sick days is impacting UK businesses.

In a survey reported by Business Leader News, an estimated 56% of people will ‘pull a sickie’ at least once a year in order to get a day off from work. While clearly a country-wide trend, this level of absence is manageable, especially when you consider the level of stress and strain that’s associated with most people’s jobs. However, concerningly, 9% of the people questioned state they take sick days regularly, which could easily point towards something more sinister about the employees or the employer.

Sick days cost the UK economy an estimated £100 billion a year. This includes sincere days of sickness, but a large portion of that will be estimated to be on ‘sickie’ days. So it’s holds a big impact on the economy to have people go off sick regularly.


7 Reasons Why Employees are Taking Sickies

There are numerous reasons why someone might want to take sick days that they don’t need. These are wide-ranging and can indicate some serious problems for the employee or some big problems for the employer. Let’s talk through seven of the reasons why employees are taking sickies.


They Dislike Their Job

This is the first factor on our list and could easily be the most concerning for both employer and employee. If someone dislikes their job that much, there’s a chance that they’ll take regular sickies just because they can’t face working. And for both parties, that’s sad. If this is a long-term problem, there’s a good chance the relationship needs to end and each side of the coin needs to stop.


Plain Laziness

If this is the case then everyone involved has a big problem. The employee may not feel like they’re causing a problem, but they certainly will be. If the worker can’t be bothered to work, then the employer needs to understand that there’s no way the relationship is going to work. In this case, it’s best for everyone that the employer looks for someone more reliable to fill the role.


No More Annual Leave

There’s a chance that the employee is taking time off sick because they have no more annual leave time to take. This can happen when it comes to the end of the holiday year. This is always hard to prove, and can find employees with usually exemplary records of attendance taking time off. In our opinion, this is actually not that big of a problem. That is unless their sickness record (even if legitimate) is patchy. Most workplaces will have rules in place around sickness leave, and as long as someone isn’t overstretching these guidelines, we’d consider the problem minimal.


Anxious About Certain Tasks

This is likely to be a big part of the problem, when workers are nervous about a particular day or task in the work calendar. Different people deal with anxieties in different ways. Some can tackle them head on, but others will become overwhelmed by them. This is where good managers can identify these issues, and work on them with the employee. If these problems are genuine, then it will pay to be understanding and offer guidance and support to workers. There’s a good chance you’ll see the pay off in the long term.


Mental Health Impacting Their Life

To  be certain, these are health problems and legitimate reasons for taking days off. But in a way, too, this is not dissimilar to the above, with the added pressure that their mental health problems may not be solely focused around work. On going mental health problems will provide problems for both business and worker. But these can still provide an ongoing issue. Some people aren’t sure about where their worries come from, while others do and struggle to tackle or cope with them. This is a difficult situation for management to deal with, because there needs to be the right tone struck between help, encouragement and the need to get the job done in the meantime.


Interview for Another Job

The fact of the matter is that some people will be less than happy at their current roles. That, or they’re just ready for a new challenge. Current employees may end up deciding to do this if they have an interview elsewhere. In that case, there’s very little you can do. There’s also a chance that prospective candidates to your own job adverts are doing the same. Sometimes it’s just a cycle in the entire job market.


Being Exhausted

No employee should need to take a sick day to combat exhaustion. There’s every argument to say this is a legitimate reason to take a sick day. Exhaustion can make someone feel very unwell. But in reality, it’s a failing of both the person to notice the signs, but also the organisation for working their employees so hard. If employees are taking sick days because they’re too tired to work, that strikes of an under resourced business, not just an over worked employee.


Ensure Employees Enjoy Being at Work, and Stay Compliant

Employees will enjoy being at a workplace that is challenging but not exhausting, and rewarding. They also appreciate their safety and if they notice an organisation that they are working for being loose with their compliance and legislative responsibilities, then they’re going to rethink whether they want to work for that firm. Trust works both ways.

Direct365 are the small business experts. We know that there are a variety of compliance laws that every business must abide by. And that’s where we can help. Our reliable service, low price and knowledgeable service people can ensure you stay compliant. We offer safety, waste and facilities services, many of which need completing on a frequent basis. For more information on these services, fill out the form for a less than 24 hour call back. To take a further look at our safety services, head to our workplace safety page.

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