According to statistics reported in the media for the last few years, the first Monday in February is the day when people are most likely to call in sick, dubbed “National Sickie Day”.
Employees call in sick for many reasons, mostly due to genuine illness. However, there are many theories as to why there has been an increase in workers “pulling a sickie” on the first Monday of February than any other day.
Suggestions floated by employment and HR experts online include:
- Job interviews
- Increase in genuine sickness due to cold weather
- Hangovers following January payday/post-Dry-January benders
In previous years, the media has made light of this apparent phenomenon, reporting on some of the best (or worst, depending on your viewpoint) excuses that people have come up with including:
- It’s my dog’s birthday
- My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift
- My only pair of work trousers is in the wash
Some of the excuses reported may be amusing on the surface, but there are some important issues underlying the irreverence of the media’s approach that make the continued promotion of this apparent phenomenon increasingly irresponsible.
First, that there is an implication that physical illness or injury is the only legitimate reason for calling in sick and that the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees is inconsequential.
Second, reporting on the ‘ridiculous excuses’ people have given as a reason for absence makes the majority of employees who are aware of “National Sickie Day” and are conscientious and dedicated employees feel discouraged from making that early morning phone call.
Presenteeism — when employees drag themselves into work when unwell and potentially spreading their illness around the office — can be as big an issue as absenteeism. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics, the average number of sickness absence days that UK workers take has almost halved since 1993. (Source: ONS)
Dealing with employee absences are a normal part of the management of any business and there will always be those who will try to work the system for an extra few days off. But the vast majority of people are decent, honest and may need some additional support as we don’t always know what ails or troubles a valued employee.
The wellbeing and motivation of your employees is important to the smooth-running of your business. At Kruger Cowne, we advocate for health and wellbeing and support many businesses in promoting not just physical health and wellness but also mental health. Get in touch with us today to discuss how our health and wellbeing speakers and experts can support your business.