iLaw Employment lawyer responds to Com Res study on “sickies”

Com Res working with the BBC has released a report on “sickies”,which found that two in five adults would fake a sick day if they just needed a day off.

In response to this Julian Cox, Head of Employment at iLaw believes that the acceptance of sickie culture may just go beyond wanting additional days off and feels employers should take heed of this research.

Julian Cox, Head of Employment at iLaw, said: “As the evidence in this survey suggests, there may be a ‘sickie’ culture in many workplaces and that raises questions about why employees feel the need to have unauthorised time off, or feel that it is fair to do so.

“In today’s high strung work environment, it is important that employers speak with staff to find out what issues are affecting them, so as to provide solutions that would limit the number of sick days in a year. It is easy to trivialise the word sickie and assume that people are only using them to catch up on their favourite Netflix series or recover from a hangover, but there are many reasons for people pulling a sickie.

“For some, it may be that they experiencing a mental health crisis and do not feel they are able to have an open and honest conversation with their employer, while for others it could be related to issues with caring for another, such as a child or elderly relative.

“Although there are provisions in the law for these scenarios, sometimes employees are either unaware of these or feel that using them could have a negative impact on their career and employment.

“Tackling sickie culture is important due to the cost, disruption and lack of productivity it creates but If a company is experiencing a significant number of sick days then they may need to evaluate the work environment to remove the toxicity that leads to ‘sickies’.”