National Sickie Day

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Health Assured team

22 January 2020

Research conducted by employment law firm ELAS has found that 'National Sickie Day' could cost the UK economy £45m in wages, lost hours and overtime, each year.

What is National Sickie Day?

The first Monday in February has been coined as National Sickie Day - statistically, the most likely day in the year for an employee to call in sick with a range of different excuses to take the day off.

The concept was devised in 2011 by ELAS Group and has since become a significant addition to the awareness day calendar.

When is National Sickie Day?

The next National Sickie Day falls on Monday 3rd February 2025 - a date that employers need make note of. Here’s why...

The cost of National Sickie Day

The act of calling in sick under a false pretence contributes towards absenteeism rates in all working sectors.

A study conducted by the on-demand hiring platform Catapult, found that absenteeism costs the British economy £100 billion every year and the average UK business £554 per employee, per year.

While the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC), has found that absenteeism costs employers in Ireland around €1.5 billion per annum.

Why does National Sickie Day exist?

Surveys suggest that the top reasons for employees calling in sick include illnesses, migraines and stomach bugs. However, in a poll taken by ITV, 46% of employees interviewed stated that ‘feeling tired’ was the real reason for them calling in sick and 40% also said ‘they just didn’t feel like it’.

While the above could be true for some employees, there could be a significant reason as to why employees fake a physical ailment when calling in sick...

How can employers manage absences?

In modern culture, colds, flu and other physical ailments are still much more readily accepted than stating your mental health is suffering and you need to take a break.

Because of this, many employees feel as though they have to feign an illness to avoid the stigma of mental health and so that their absence can be deemed as socially acceptable.

To avoid this pattern, employers must revisit their wellbeing strategies and focus their attention on ensuring that their workplace evokes a positive working culture that acknowledges mental health conditions. Here’s how...

Flexible working - By offering flexible or remote working to your team, you will prevent their work from impeding on their home lives and schedule. In turn, you will reduce the chance of them taking a sick day to compensate for inflexible employers.

Communication - It’s imperative that you communicate your stance on health and wellbeing in the workplace. Whether you do this via email, educational posters or newsletters, this will help employees understand why they should be proactively looking after their health, and what tools you can offer to support this.

Wellbeing strategies - Evidence suggests that when health and wellbeing becomes a pillar of an organisation, it’s employees become more focussed on their own health, and the organisation benefits in the process. In fact, according to the CIPD’s 2018 Heath & Wellbeing at Work report, almost one third of organisations that had health and wellbeing activities in place, experienced lower sickness absence and 52% of them reported that they had seen increased employee morale and engagement.

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324

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