‘Sickies’ in decline as increasing number of staff work while ill, study finds

The number of companies reporting an increase in staff attending work when they are ill has more than tripled since 2010.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) surveyed more than 1,021 organisations representing 4.6 million workers and found that 86% observed staff turning up to work poorly in the last 12 months, compared with 26% in 2010.

It also found high numbers of staff willing to work while on leave.

The CIPD warns that “presenteeism”, the practice of working for more hours than required, has hit a record high.

They claim it is damaging the economy and affecting the country’s productivity.

The report revealed that only a minority of organisations are challenging the unhealthy workplace practises.

Rachel Suff, the study’s author, says employers need to do more to tackle the issue.

She said: “In order to encourage a healthy workplace, organisations need to look beyond sickness absence rates alone and develop a solid, evidence-based understanding of the underlying causes of work-related stress and unhealthy behaviour like presenteeism.

“Without this evidence base, efforts to support employees and improve their health and well-being will be short-lived.”

Ms Suff said ill workers could pass their condition on to colleagues.

She added: “If people are coming in to work when really unwell it means that they are not performing and not adding value to their job, while their own condition could worsen or they could pass it to other workers.”

The decrease in sickies mirrors Office for National Statistics figures showing that the number of sick days fell to the lowest rate since records began in 1993.

Last year, Nottingham Business School found that the average British employee spent almost two weeks a year at work while ill, costing companies more than £4,000 a worker through lost productivity.

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