Sick staff soldier on for fear of letting down their colleagues

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of UK employees go to work despite feeling so ill they could legitimately stay at home, a survey has revealed.

The poll of 2,000 workers by medical insurance provider Axa PPP healthcare indicated that the main reason for this ‘presenteeism’ was people saying they didn’t want to let down their colleagues.

One-quarter said they just had too much work to do to take time off. One in seven were worried their sick leave records could be used against them if their employer came to making people redundant.

One in five people even said they had used up some of their annual leave entitlement to cover up for having to take time off sick.

HR practitioners were the third most likely profession to soldier on even when they could have stayed at home. Women were more likely than men to go to work when feeling unwell (74% versus 65%).

Dudley Lusted, head of healthcare development at Axa PPP, said: “Sickness absence is very often due to minor, self-limiting illnesses and, as this survey shows, most employees continue to turn up for work when they’re feeling under the weather.”

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