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Acceptable ways to take a day off work

A study of employers and employees shows vomiting and diarrhoea get far more sympathy than depression.
Feeling stressed or depressed seems to earn far less sympathy than physical illness for days off work.
We all know that feeling: you’ve woken up on a Monday morning with an unbearable cold or splitting headache, and the thought of a day in the office is too much to bear. Time to email the boss and explain why you won’t be coming in today.

“There seems to be a clear lack of understanding from some employers in terms of employee well-being,” she said. “There is a strong commercial case for having a healthy and engaged workforce, yet employers are evidently ignoring the impact of an employee’s physical and mental well-being on productivity, absenteeism and length of service.”

A few highlights of the study:

British workers are taking more sick days – but that’s a good thing.
EU officials take three times number of sick days as British workers.
Record number of staff spurn sick days.
One in five British workers pulled a ‘sickie’ this year, YouGov survey.
Older workers half as likely to take a sick day than young.
The highest rates of absenteeism were among women aged 18 to 24 living in Edinburgh and working in the utilities sector – waste treatment, sanitation or supply of gas, electricity and water.

The survey also suggests that older employees are less inclined to take a day off than their younger colleagues. The statistics show that 63% of people over 50 haven’t taken a day off this year, nearly twice the figure for those aged 18 to 24.

And despite the notorious “man flu”, men are less likely to call in sick than women. But when they do, they’re more likely to say it’s because they are feeling tired, under the weather or hung-over. Perhaps some early nights are in order.

Being ill is one of the more reasonable causes for people to not go to work on National Sickie Day.
The weather, a hangover, “needing” a lie-in; these are the more reasonable excuses recorded for people calling in sick on what has been dubbed “National Sickie Day”.

Last year an estimated 375,000 people called in sick on National Sickie Day, which business advisors ELAS calculated had cost British businesses as much as £34 million in lost productivity.

And what is the most likely reason for people staying at home? The weather. A total of 38% of the people surveyed said that when it is cold and dark outside they would simply rather stay in bed.

While the second most common reason in the top five sickie-excuses was genuinely feeling ill, the third was a hangover, most likely linked to celebrating the end of “Dry January”, the fourth was “just needing a lie-in”, and the fifth was feeling overworked or stressed.

But these were the more reasonable excuses given for staying off work. Here are the others.

The unreasonable excuses:

Claiming a child is off school.

Pretending to suffer a bereavement.

Having to attend a funeral.

Claiming the car has broken down and needing to wait for breakdown recovery.

Pretending to have incurred an injury such as a sprained ankle or wrist.

The outrageous excuses:

“I’ve accidently locked myself in the bathroom and I have to wait until someone with a key to the house can come round to let me out.”

“I’ve accidently sent my uniform to the charity shop so I need to go and buy it back.”

“My plastic surgery has gone wrong and I need to go and get it fixed.”

“I thought it was a bank holiday and I’m 500 miles away.”

(A specific excuse offered by a Glasgow resident) “I missed the stop on the train this morning and I can’t get off the train now until London.”


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