Seven in ten UK employees – equivalent to 18 million nationally – have gone to work feeling unwell when they should have taken the day off, according to a report.
In contrast, less than a quarter (23%) say they have taken a day off work sick when they were not actually unwell, indicating that UK employees are three times more likely to go to work unwell than they are to ‘pull a sickie’.
The research – in the fourth edition of the Aviva Working Lives Report, which examines the attitudes and experiences of employers and employees on issues affecting the present and future of the UK workplace – also carries a wake-up call to businesses, as more than two in five (43%) employees feel their employer puts the results of the company ahead of their health and wellbeing.
The findings suggest private sector workers are fearful of heavy workloads if they take time off, as more than two in five (41%) say their work will pile up if they are off sick. With people continuing to work while they are unwell, it is likely they are less productive as a consequence and in turn could also affect the health of other employees.
The trend comes against the backdrop of a historic fall in the average number of sick days taken annually by UK employees, dropping to a record low of 4.3 days in 2016 compared with 7.2 days in 1993 when tracking began.