59% of employees have not called in sick when they needed to

employees needing sickAlmost three-fifths (59%) of UK employees have not taken time off work due to illness or injury despite needing to, according to research by protection and employee benefits provider Metlife UK.

Its survey of 2,009 employees found that when asked why they did not call in sick when they needed to, 36% of respondents did not think there was anyone to cover them, 28% did not want to miss work and 16% had a deadline to meet.

More than one-quarter (27%) said their colleagues needed them, 26% were worried they would not be paid, and 17% felt anxious they would lose out financially because they would not receive sick pay.

Just over one-quarter (26%) felt guilty that colleagues would have to pick up extra work, 19% worried no one would believe they were unwell and 17% felt concerned about the amount of work they would come back to.

Almost one-fifth (18%) felt worried about how their boss or colleagues would react, while just 15% felt like they could take the time they need to recover and only 13% felt that their employer cared about or was concerned for them.

Adrian Matthews, head of employee benefits at Metlife UK, said: “Employees who prioritise presenteeism in the office, more often than not, find it leads to absenteeism in the long run. This drive to work when illness strikes can prolong recovery, leading to employees suffering burnout later on, which can quickly lead to an unproductive workforce for employers.

“It’s important employers allow individuals to take the time needed to recover and that employees feel supported so they can focus on themselves rather than suffering additional stress from work pressure. To do this, employers must prioritise having the right products and offerings in place that allow employees access to GPs 24/7, stress the importance of early intervention and rehabilitation, as well as offering employee assistance programmes. Having these in place will make sure employees feel protected and able to take the time off work needed to fully recover.”