UK firms count the cost of staff sick days

One in seven employees has admitted feigning illness and the practice of ‘pulling a sickie’ is having a huge impact on small business finances.

Research from HR software provider breatheHR claims that the practice costs the UK economy an incredible £900 million.

Absenteeism ultimately hits bottom line finances, as 85% of small business owners revealed it had an economic effect on their firm.

This is perhaps why more than half (51%) of bosses admit to chasing employees who have called in sick, a figure which rises to 72% for owners aged between 18 and 34.

Seven in ten business owners also said they would expect staff to work if they were showing signs of the common cold.

The research found that more than two million people are calling into work and feigning illness, which also impacts on business productivity.

It is claimed that tackling the ‘costly epidemic’ could transform the economy and small business performance, with 42% of staff saying they call in sick as they require a break.

Yet the research reported that just 46% of staff use their full holiday allowance and one in five people will respond to emails when off due to guilt.

BreathHR CEO Jonathan Richards suggests that people are contradictory given that they don’t use all of their holiday allowances, still take time off and then work on emails when at home.

It is suggested managers are unintentionally creating a culture where staff are expected to be available nearly all of the time.

Firms face most problems when their cash flow is hit by staff being away – those with few employees can struggle to overcome absence while those operating on tight margins can ill-afford any losses.

Persistent absence may result in financial losses which is why it’s important to have contingency planning in place to protect against such instances.

This can ensure that alternative plans of action are available to overcome any unexpected events or financial issues such insolvency or administration.

By Phil Smith


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