Majority of staff return to work while sick

Nearly eight in 10 workers would consider returning to work from long-term absence before they were 100% better, potentially putting their health and the health and safety of colleagues at risk, a survey by a leading health insurer has suggested.

The poll of 1,000 employees by Aviva also found that for more than two-thirds of respondents, family finances were their key concern when on sick leave, with 29% saying meeting mortgage payments was a major worry.

Just slightly more than a fifth said they would never sacrifice their health to get back to the office quickly. Nearly half said they would go back early if they thought their family couldn’t cope financially, while a further 11% said that fear of losing their job would hasten their return.

Kevin Murdoch, senior proposition development manager at Aviva UK Health, said: “Returning to work prematurely from an illness or injury without the appropriate support could be detrimental to the health of an employee and, from a business perspective, employers will reap few benefits from such ‘presenteeism’ – a lose-lose situation.”

In a separate move, Aviva has highlighted the dangers of workplace slips and trips as part of its Simply Safety campaign, which includes a factsheet.

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