Absenteeism costs British Business around £32 billion a year, but a large chunk of this loss is preventable, says PwC.
One in three UK workers admit to lying to take time off work, mainly because they’re disillusioned with their jobs, according to research commissioned by PwC.
While good weather, hangovers, and romance are motivations for 11%, 18% and 5% of "skivers" respectively, a large majority of 61% claim they are simply bored and depressed with work.
Neil Roden, HR consulting partner at PwC, said: "Absenteeism costs British Business around £32 billion a year, but our findings suggest a large chunk of this loss is preventable.
"If people are bored and depressed with their jobs, employers need to think creatively how they can get people back in gear. Rather than a sign of laziness, unwarranted leave can mean people are under-used."
For 21% of workers, family responsibilities are the real reason behind "sick" days, perhaps highlighting the difficulties people face achieving a work-life balance.
Roden: "Introducing or enhancing flexible working arrangements can make a difference. Ensuring people feel they’re not taken for granted is also important. Some 15% of those who provided false excuses felt they deserved the time."
Prevention may be easier than cure given the lengths people go to cover their tracks. Illness is the favoured excuse for 83% of "skivers", with four out of ten even faking symptoms around the office in preparation for a day off.
Some 16% sniff at work, another 12% pretend to lose their voice, while 5% have even used props such as bandages, crutches and make-up. The illness of choice though, is one which is difficult to prove: half of all excuses involve gastro related problems.
A third of workers think they’d be more likely to take unwarranted leave if they see their colleagues getting away with it.
The effects can also be long lasting, with two thirds of "skivers" saying their sick days are more credible if they pretend to be ill for more than one day.
Roden added: ""With UK absenteeism levels double those recorded in the US, it is vital British employers get to grips with the problem to ensure the UK remains competitive."
Some 15% of those people "pulling sickies" said they’d been working hard and deserved the time.
On average, survey respondents believe you can take 5.17 days absence under false pretences before your employer becomes suspicious.
While most (79%) workers phone in sick themselves, 9% get someone else to do so; 5% text; 3% email and 3% leave a message before anyone is in the office.
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