1 in 4 workers too scared to take time off sick, Glassdoor survey finds

Research suggests that employees are reluctant to be seen taking too much time out of the office due to illness

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The Independent Online

One in four UK employees say they are too afraid to take time off when they are ill, according to a survey of nearly 680 people by jobs and recruiting website Glassdoor.

The research suggests that employees are reluctant to be seen taking too much time out of the office due to illness.

Heavy workloads and pressure from managers not to be off sick were significant reasons for employees to come to the office even when they were ill. Nearly 45 per cent of employees surveyed said they noticed their colleagues returned to work before they were fully recovered after taking some time off.

More than half of employees took  no time off.JPG

In January, only 9 per cent of UK employees said they would take time off work for illness. 

British workers are less likely to take more than eight days of sick leave in comparison to their European counterparts. 


Chart UK worker compared to EU counterparts.JPG

More than 25 per cent of German workers surveyed took more than a week of sick leave in 2015. The number drops to 13 per cent for French employees, around 10 per cent for Dutch workers and only 9 per cent for UK workers. 

Joe Wiggins, careers trends analyst at Glassdoor, said the research is reflective of the wrong type of company culture. 

“No one should feel vulnerable to criticism if they are genuinely ill or that this might affect their career progression. 

“A healthy company culture is one where people are treated like adults and trusted to make the right decisions,“ Wiggins said.

Older employees are less inclined to take a day off than their younger colleagues. The statistics show that 63 per cent of people over 50 haven’t taken a day off this year, nearly twice the figure for those aged 18 to 24, according to another study by healthcare provider Benenden.

“There seems to be a clear lack of understanding from some employers in terms of employee well-being,” she said. “There is a strong commercial case for having a healthy and engaged workforce, yet employers are evidently ignoring the impact of an employee’s physical and mental well-being on productivity, absenteeism and [length of service],” Inji Duducu director of Benenden said.