Eight out of ten feign illness for a day off

2004

More than eight out of ten employees admit to faking an illness so that they can take a day of work. Hardly surprising, since three-quarters of bosses also admit that they 'pull a sickie' from time to time.

A survey of almost 1,000 employees by law firm Peninsula and payroll recruitment outfit Portfolio Payroll also found that two-thirds of those who skived off did not feel guilt about it.

A quarter of those questioned said that they had feigned illness once in the last twelve months. More than a third had done so twice, 17 per cent have done it three times and a sneaky seven per cent said that they had done it on more than five occasions.

The problem is exacerbated because doctors rarely refused to grant sicknotes because patients could easily get one from another GP and that refusing to do so could jeopardise their doctor-patient relationships.

Portfolio Payrol’s Danny Done said that sickies cost firms thousands of pounds a year and cause particular problems for smaller businesses.

"We live in a society where it is easy for an employee to call in sick and take a day off without being properly challenged by their employer,” he said.

"The problem costs businesses thousands of pounds a year and if you are a small business these are costs that you could really do without."

But he added that employers can no longer dismiss an employee for being off work claiming illness, even if they feel it was under false pretences.

"The only way to combat absenteeism is for an employer to have a policy in place whereby workers must call in sick by a certain time of day," he said.

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