Brits Skiving more than ever

Almost 60% of Brits have pulled a sickie from work in the past three years despite not being ill, new research has revealed.

The survey of 1,000 British employees, carried out by leading workforce management solutions developer, timeware (UK), found that despite the number of employees falsely claiming to be sick in the past three years, almost 90% of those surveyed did not consider absenteeism to be a problem in their workplace.

As part of the research which set out to investigate absenteeism and productivity in the UK workplace, employees were asked what the reasons were for their unplanned absences in 2014. While the survey found that sickness is still the number one reason for absenteeism (45%), other reasons why people were off in 2014 included childcare issues (20%) and relationship issues (17%). 11% of people claimed that they didn’t go into work because they had an interview, 8% stated they had personal problems to deal with and another 8% of respondents wanted to avoid a difficult situation at work.

The survey also found that employees are more likely to be absent from work with a hangover (7%) than because they are dissatisfied with their job (3%) or because they had to sort out a family issue (5%).

As well as looking into unplanned absence, the research also asked employees the main reasons why they were late for work in 2014. It found that the most common reason was down to transport issues with 43% of respondents having used this excuse in 2014.

A further 22% of people said they had overslept and 13% said they were late to work because of a lack of motivation for the job. Whilst 18% said family issues had caused a delay in getting to work, 13% suggested childcare issues had made them late and 4% said they didn’t like their boss.

The results also showed that at present employees massively underestimate the problem that absenteeism poses. Despite statistics by ACAS highlighting that absenteeism is costing the economy an average of £17million a year, the timeware report found that only 28% of people surveyed considered absenteeism to be a problem in their workplace.

Simon Birchall, managing director of timeware, said: “Employees are bound to miss work from time to time, for a vast variety of reasons. However, while some are genuine reasons to be off work, others are not.

“When implementing workforce management solutions for our customers, absence management is a key issue that crops up time and time again. As such, we decided to commission our own research to get a better insight into the state of absenteeism in the UK – and the results have provided some insightful data! The results from our report have highlighted that in the UK there appears to be a serious problem with people falsely claiming to be sick when in reality there is another reason for their absence.

“These figures really illustrate that more work needs to be done to understand why some people do not feel they are able to disclose the real reasons for their absences – so that employers can better support their employees and to try to reduce avoidable absenteeism in the future.”

For businesses up and down the country struggling with the problem of absenteeism, timeware has included a number of actionable insights to tackle the issue in its new report entitled ‘Absenteeism, Productivity and the Bottom Line’. It includes take-away advice on how businesses can reduce the rate of absenteeism, and the consequent positive effects that this has on business, for example, helping to improve overall efficiency.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine