Huge rise in number of people going into work despite being ill

Research shows people coming to work while ill hurts UK economy due to lost productivity

Caitlin Morrison
Wednesday 02 May 2018 09:11 BST
Despite presenteeism increasing, many firms are not taking action to stop it
Despite presenteeism increasing, many firms are not taking action to stop it

Sickies are no longer a problem for British employers, which are now facing difficulties due to a rise in ‘presenteeism’ with an increasing number of people coming to work despite being unwell, according to a new study.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPD) shows 86 per cent of firms have seen a rise in presenteeism over the past 12 months, up from 72 per cent this time last year.

“The presence of ill people at work can be more costly to the business than their absence, not only if illness is transmitted to other colleagues, but also because ill employees are likely to work less effectively than usual, may be more susceptible to costly mistakes, take longer to recover from their illness and cause lower workplace morale,” the CIPD warned in its report.

This tallies with findings by Nottingham Business School last year that the average UK employee was going to work while ill for almost two weeks a year, costing companies more than £4,000 per worker due to lower productivity.

However, the CIPD’s research shows just a quarter of employers that have observed presenteeism among their staff have taken action to address it, while 61 per cent have not and 14 per cent say they do not know whether they have taken action.

“In 2016, almost half (48 per cent) had taken action, so these newest figures represent a significant fall in the number of organisations who are proactive about tackling presenteeism,” the CIPD said.

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