UK loses £5.6bn to sick leaves

According to a study, while 38% of the sick leaves taken were not genuine, there is an increasing pressure to avoid availing sick leaves.

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A survey has revealed some interesting changes in attitude towards sick leaves in the UK. Apparently, while employees in the UK have cost businesses about £5.6bn, due to sick leaves, youngsters are increasingly dragging themselves to work even when they are suffering from fever, cold as well as mental ill health. Of the 2,000 employees surveyed by office supplies company, Viking, most of the younger employees admitted that about 38 per cent of the sick leaves they took were not genuine. That means, an alarming 51.9 million employees took fake sick leaves last year.

On an average, a sick leave costs about £107.85, which is a huge loss for businesses in Britain.

This trend of sick leaves was most common amongst the new generations. About 71 per cent of those in the age group of 25 to 34 had lied about being sick. Only about 25 per cent of those 65 and above ever lied about being sick to take an off.

However, it was found that the pressure to avoid taking sick leaves was also increasing. Almost 86 per cent of those in the 25 to 43 age group felt pressurised to cut down on sick leaves, because (about 33 per cent) felt they had to deal with work overload and associated stress. Also, faking sickness caused anxiety to about 31 per cent of the employees, while 24 per cent faced pressure from their reporting managers.

Only 44 per cent of those above the age of 65 felt any pressure to avoid sick leaves. This is not a good trend in the long run, because if employees report for work even when sick, their productivity will be affected as their health will ultimately be adversely impacted.

Interestingly, while it was found that the youngsters were more particular and rigid about the reasons for taking leave, about 53 per cent of those in the age group of 25 to 34 did not know what their company’s policy related to sick leaves was. About 27 per cent of the senior lot (65 and above) were aware of the leave policies.

Approx. 17 per cent of the youngsters believed their sick leaves were not enough, with only one per cent of the those above 65 sharing the same view.

About 33 per cent of those surveyed believed that even those who felt mentally unhealthy should be allowed to take sick leave, while 71 per cent this was not required.

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