national sickie day

National Sickie Day highlights the importance of a good Absence Management system

Feb 2020

According to statistics, the first Monday in February is the day when employees are most likely to phone in sick. It has, therefore, been dubbed ‘National Sickie Day’.

Employment law experts, the ELAS Group, first identified this day in 2011. They estimate that around 350,000 employees call in sick on National Sickie Day, which would cost the UK economy around £45 million.

Why are people more likely to call in sick on this day?

There are many reasons why people are more likely to call in sick on the first Monday of February. They include:

  • A combination of the end of Dry January and it being just after the first pay packet of the year, meaning that many will have been out celebrating all weekend and could be suffering from a heavy hangover.
  • Another theory is that people often become reflective in January and re-evaluate their career path, so they take time off to attend interviews.
  • Many people are also suffering from a cold or the flu at this time of year or they just feel run down and tired.
  • Mental health also has a huge part to play in this. A lot of people tend to feel down at this time of the year after the Christmas celebrations are over and the financial strain sets in. People also get stressed going back to work after the break when they have a lot of work to do.
  • Seasonal Affective disorder also affects many people, with the NHS estimating that 1 in 15 of us suffer from it in some way. SAD is brought on by the shorter, darker days during winter which leads to an imbalance of hormones in the body that help us sleep and feel happy. This leads to people feeling down, tired, irritable, lacking energy, and finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning. 
  • In a poll taken by ITV on the subject, 46% of people interviewed stated that feeling tired was the real reason they called in sick on this day, and 40% also said they just didn’t feel like going in.

The cost of absences to UK businesses

National Sickie Day highlights the important issue of employee absenteeism and the huge cost it brings to businesses. It was reported that in 2019, employees weren’t actually sick for 38% of the sick days they took off. This resulted in 51.9 million fake sick days being taken last year. The average sickness absence costs around £107.85, so these fake sick days cost UK businesses £5.6 billion in 2019.

cost of absences

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace Survey found that absenteeism and presenteeism were costing UK businesses a staggering £77.5 billion a year. Research by CIPD and Simplyhealth found that only a third of organisations actually monitor how much employee absence costs them and the impact it has on their business. When people are off sick it reduces productivity as they are a person down. It also increases stress for other employees who have to pick up their workload whilst others are absent.

Only by monitoring absences can businesses pick up on issues and address them. By recording and monitoring absence data, companies can spot patterns more easily such as people who are often sick around the weekends or employees who are often off for the same reason, such as stress, which could mean their workload needs addressing.

How Absence Management can help

absence management

Absence Management systems should be put in place within a business to help them better manage employee absences, increase productivity, reduce costs and tackle any issues within their workplace more effectively. Good Absence Management is a great tool for any business and it has been proven to reduce the cost to employers and negative impact absence has on fellow employees. This, in turn, allows companies to improve their employee satisfaction and contentment in the workplace, which can lead to increased productivity. Your workforce is your greatest investment and most important tool when running a business, ensuring they are happy, healthy and working to their optimum performance is therefore vital to your success.

A proper Absence Management system can help you to highlight any issues and get staff the help or support they need. When proper processes are put in place, this can also deter people from ‘pulling a sickie’ when they aren’t actually sick.

Kays Medical can help

Occupational Health

Kays Medical are Occupational Health experts and we can offer your business an effective Absence Management service. We can support your requirements and arrange a bespoke service that suits you and your business. Our team of highly qualified and experienced Occupational Health professionals will assist you every step of the way, offering a comprehensive service where we can set up absence management systems in your workplace. We can offer help over the phone, face to face, and can even come to your site, whichever is most convenient for you. Contact us today to discuss setting up Absence Management in your workplace and see how we can help you save money.