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57% of workers take sick days once a month, finds study

The number of Britons that have called in sick from work so far this year, despite not really being ill at all, has been revealed following a new study. The poll also revealed that 21% of grown adults have also had a parent, partner or friend call in sick for them so that they didn't have to on a past occasion.

The survey was carried out by the online travel agency and 2,111 people aged 18 and over from around the UK, all of whom were employed in either a part time or full time role, took part. Respondents answered questions about any time they'd taken off sick from work in the last 12 months, whether they were genuinely ill or not.

When asked 'How frequently have you taken sick days from work over the past year?', the majority (57%) said 'once a month'. 22% said 'hardly ever' and 16% said 'only once or twice'. Everyone was then asked how many of the sick days they took were false (i.e. they weren't genuinely unwell when they called in sick). From this, found that approximately one in every four sick days taken by Britons is a false 'sickie'.

The research revealed that one in 10 respondents had already pulled a sickie at work this year so far, despite only being a month in to 2017. As respondents were asked what industry they worked in, the researchers were able to determine that it was those in 'retail' roles that were the most likely to feign illness for a day off.

Anyone who had pulled a sickie in the past 12 months was asked if they had taken any steps to cover their tracks to make sure they weren't found out. 43% said they had posted something on social media about feeling unwell, such as a status or picture, to make their story seem more plausible. On the contrary, 19% avoided social media altogether in order to not trip up and post something that gave their secret away.

When asked what how they had spent the day when they pulled a sickie, 76% said 'watching TV/films'. 11% said they'd had a day out somewhere 9% confessed to using their "sick" day to get some chores done around the house.

The poll also revealed that 21% of the respondents had previously got a parent, friend or partner to call their place of work for them when they wanted to stay home sick (regardless of whether or not they were genuinely unwell). However, only 12% of these people said they were too poorly to make the phone call themselves.

Chris Clarkson, managing director of, said, "It seems that a fair few people have tarnished their brand new sickness record at work already this year, all for a sneaky day off. We found it interesting to see how many people use social media to make their 'illness' seem more believable, perhaps in the process getting unfair sympathy from their unsuspecting friends and family. As for those risking a day out when they've called in sick, that's definitely a dangerous game!" 

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