Is National Sickie Day Still A Regular Occurrence In The Workplace? 2018 is the year that National Sickie Day failed to show up, but ‘Blue Monday’ creeped back into popularity (and no, we aren’t talking about New Order.) Statistics analysed from 9600 employees across 135 companies in the UK highlighted some very eye-opening results and interesting trends for employee absences. Data released from the ELAS Group highlight a trend for increased absences on Mondays throughout the year, with January, October and December being the months employers should watch out for. Top 10 Popular Dates For Work Absences 1. Tuesday 2nd January
2. Monday 8th January
3. Monday 15th January
4. Monday 12th March
5. Monday 10th December
6. Monday 26th February *(storm)
7. Wednesday 28th February
8. Monday 16th April
9. Monday 8th October
10. Monday 15th October
The absence rate on Mondays is nearly double the absence rate on Fridays (24.8% versus 12.8%). With the exception of Tues 2nd Jan (the day with the highest absence rate in the first half of the year) and Wednesday 28
th February (in the midst of the ‘Beast From The East’ storm) all other days in the top ten fell on a Monday.
Employees are most likely to call in sick between 7-8AM, with 7AM on Monday 15
th January receiving the ‘Sickie Hour’ title, as employers received the most absence calls at this time across the entire year. Top 10 Times To Call In Absent
1.Monday 15th January – 7AM
2.Monday 16th April – 6AM
3.Monday 08 April – 7AM
4.Monday 15th October – 7AM
5.Monday 29th January – 7AM
6.Monday 5th March – 7AM
7.Monday 12th February – 7AM
8.Monday 17th December – 7AM
9.Monday 16th April – 7AM
10.Monday 26th February – 7AM
‘Blue Monday’ (the third Monday of the year) is renowned as being the most depressing date of the year and is when most individuals give up their New Year’s resolutions. In reference to nationwide mood, the phrase was first coined in 2005 and takes into consideration aspects such as; weather conditions, debt levels, time since Christmas and national motivation levels. This was the third most popular date for absences across the country, so there’s corresponding data behind the ‘Blue Monday’ claim to support this theory.
Contrast to this, the happiest day of the year is supposedly the third Friday in June. This didn’t appear in the ‘Top 250’ most popular days for absences, which might suggest that happy employee’s turn up to work.
As a contrast, August was deemed the healthiest month across all companies, with the fewest number of absences across the country, both in total and when you look at the average rate per week. The reasoning behind this could be due to the fact August is a popular time to book holidays, and lots of employee’s are out of the office already, so registered absences are minimised.
National Sickie Day, which was once the first Monday in February, didn’t reach the ‘Top 30’ most popular days for absences, which enforces the fact that it’s well and truly irrelevant within modern workplaces.
There are lots of reasons why employees might be absent from work. Some of them will be genuine, and some of them might stretch the term ‘believable.’ Even with the rise of presenteeism (coming into work, even if you’re too sick to be there and should be at home) our absence advisers and legal team have still been treated to a wide range of ‘sickie’ excuses, that sometimes sound too unusual to be true!
We’ve collated some of the best ones we’ve heard this year; do any sound familiar in your workplace?
“I can’t come to work today as I’ve moved house over the weekend and now I live too far away” “I have to take my cat to the vet so I won’t be in for a week” “I’ve cut my hand whilst preparing an avocado, so I can’t drive to work” “I won’t be in work today as I didn’t get a pay rise like my colleague” (this colleague only got the usual NMW increase) “My cat has hiccups and I can’t leave her” “My fingers are stuck in a bowling ball” “I can’t afford the bus”
Enrique Garcia is an
employment law consultant for ELAS. He says: “ELAS has been at the forefront of absence management for the last decade. To help employers tackle the growing trend for sickies, we developed Attendance Pro, the first absence management software to identify and track absences, allowing employers to see where problems might lie. “The statistics don’t lie. Ten years later we’re able to see that times have moved on and National Sickie Day is no longer the problem it once was. There is, however, a developing trend showing for increased absence rates on Mondays with 8 out of the top 10 days for absence being on a Monday. Our absence management specialists first picked up on this shift in 2016 and this continued into 2017. The 2018 statistics have again highlighted it.” “Employers should ensure that they have robust return to work procedures in place, part of which should be discussing in detail the reason for absence. Should a health issue be suggested, the employer could follow up by seeking to obtain a medical report; this will reveal whether or not the employee is properly addressing any underlying medical condition. “Malingering, dishonest absences and recurring patterns may also highlight disciplinary matters that are not presently being addressed. Absence Management procedures would also be of real benefit to employers to tackle these problems.” Note: these statistics were collated using the ELAS Attendance Pro Software, from January 1st 2018 – December 31st 2018.