With the first Monday in February coined as National Sickie Day, research from employment experts, Citation, reveals the end of presenteeism and ‘sick day guilt’ with employers and employees finally putting their health first.
With National Sickie Day approaching, known as the day staff are most likely to create ‘excuses’ for being off sick, Citation has revealed new data that shows a shift in how we traditionally view ‘sickie days’.
With ‘sick day guilt’ and presenteeism the norm in workplaces, many employees have previously been reluctant to call in sick, however Citation has found that staff are now valuing their health over work and are much more likely to stay off work if they are genuinely feeling unwell.
Data from Citation’s advice line has shown a 75% increase in sickness related queries from employers compared to pre-Covid levels.
Previously, many employees would put off calling in sick due to guilt, and fear that their managers wouldn’t believe them. One survey found that 55% of staff were required to provide their managers with a specific reason for calling in sick, with two in three of these feeling like there reason wasn’t believed*.
Not only are employees now much more likely to take control of their health and ring in sick if they feel they need to, the challenges brought from Covid-19 have made employers much more aware of the effects of having an ill employee in the office.
Gill McAteer, head of employment law at Citation, said: “The pandemic has seen businesses, particularly SMEs, be crippled by staff absences and the effects will still be felt for the foreseeable future.
“Despite this, the pandemic has made employers more aware of the effects of ill health transmission on their operations. Now employers are more likely to be understanding of someone who is genuinely ill choosing to stay at home rather than forcing themselves in and potentially increasing sickness absence throughout the team.
As well as employers being more empathetic to those who feel the need to call in sick, there has also been a shift in how to handle sickness, focussing more on supporting staff, rather than looking at it negatively. In Citation’s data, the top three questions asked by employers when seeking HR advice for sickness were all based around wanting to support their staff.
Gill continued, “Employers are now looking for ways to support staff that are off sick, whether this be long or short term. As well as more common issues like colds and flu, absence caused by mental health issues has become an even more significant factor, and employers are really striving to help the workforce. “
“As more and more employers begin to take the health of their workforce even more seriously, I believe National Sickie Day will be a thing of the past as the way sickness absence is viewed continues to change.”
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