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Sick leave is not an issue for UK employers, finds Adecco Retail research

Sick leave is not an issue for UK employers, finds Adecco Retail research

Nine out of ten (87%) employers do not suffer from high levels of employee sick leave according to new research by Adecco Retail.

The study “Looking Ahead” also found that amongst those employees who do take sick leave, the vast majority is for genuine illness. 90% of employers reported they have had employees take time off with cold and flu. Just 10% found their workers taking sick leave for a holiday.

Employers working within professional services firms experience the lowest number of problems with employees taking sick leave, with 96% stating they didn’t have an issue. In contrast, the HR sector is disproportionately high, with more than twice the average (28%) suffering high levels of sick leave.

87% of employers think that employees shouldn’t work from home when ill. This contrasts to employee perceptions over a third (31%) of employees believe there is an expectation to work from home when they are sick.

In addition, half (53%) of employers wish that their sick colleagues would actually stay at home when ill rather than coming into work.

Despite low sickness levels, nearly a fifth (17.3%) of employers do not currently do anything to actively promote better health in the workplace.

The research also found:

100% of employers agreed that phoning in to explain sickness is acceptable, less than a quarter agreed that an email would suffice

More than a third (39%) of employers think employees can do less than half the work of a normal healthy day

Over half (52%) of employers believe that sickness has a very real impact on businesses

70% of those employed within the Sales and Media sectors believe employees should be rewarded for not taking sick leave

Mid-size businesses (100-249 employees) experience the most significant issues with employees taking sick leave (20.8%) whilst smaller companies have far less of an issue- just 7% suffer high sick leave

According to Steven Kirkpatrick, Managing Director at Adecco Retail:

“The findings from the survey suggest that employers are actually quite relaxed about their employees taking sick leave. Rather than having them struggle through the working day and potentially make themselves and their colleagues worse, employers would rather their teams take sufficient time to rest and recover. We have found that often employees perceptions and employers expectations on sick leave do not match up. Employers therefore need to clarify how they expect an ill employee to conduct themselves.

“Whilst sickness is not currently a significant issue for UK employers, the apparent complacency amongst some towards maintaining a healthy workplace is worrying. Through introducing basic improvements such as workplace hygiene and work station assessment, employers can ensure sick days continue to be kept to a minimum.”


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