Absence had nothing to do with National Sickie Day

Monday 4 February was, apparently, National Sickie Day, (Personneltoday.com/wcblog, 4 February) when employees do not call in sick because of illness, such as the recent outbreak of the Norovirus, but because of winter blues, poor weather and credit card bills.

The survey, which was also covered by many national newspapers, reported that 30,000 employees would call in sick on this dreary day.

I question whether this assumption took into consideration the medical facts.

In the winter months there is an increase of contagious illnesses, such as flu, coughs and colds, which do lead to a greater number of genuine sick days, resulting in October, November, January and February recording the highest figures. In addition, throughout the whole year, Mondays consistently account for the highest number of absence days.

As a provider of absence management solutions, our figures over the previous year do not indicate that absence rises at the start of February, but in fact it begins a period of descent into the summer months, which are typically low. National Sickie Day? A great PR stunt to grab the attention of the national newspapers, but no grounding in reality.

Ingolv Urnes
Chief executive,
Active Health Partners

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