One in ten Britons have already called in sick from work this year

New research reveals that one in ten employed Britons in the UK have already pulled a sickie from work in 2017 so far, despite only just being out of January.

The number of Britons that have called in sick from work so far this year, despite not really being ill at all, is revealed following a new study. The poll also reveals that 21 per cent of grown adults have also had a parent, partner or friend call in sick for them so that they didn’t have to on a past occasion.

The survey was carried out by the online travel agency and 2,111 people aged 18 and over from around the UK, all of whom were employed in either a part time or full time role, took part. Respondents answered questions about any time they’d taken off sick from work in the last 12 months, whether they were genuinely ill or not.

When asked ‘How frequently have you taken sick days from work over the past year?’, the majority (57 per cent) say ‘once a month’. A quarter (22 per cent) say ‘hardly ever’ and 16 per cent say ‘only once or twice’.

Everyone was then asked how many of the sick days they took were false (i.e. they weren’t genuinely unwell when they called in sick). From this, finds that approximately one in every four sick days taken by Britons is a false ‘sickie’.

The research shows that one in ten respondents have already pulled a sickie at work this year so far, despite only being a month in to 2017. As respondents were asked what industry they worked in, the researchers were able to determine that it was those in ‘retail’ roles that were the most likely to feign illness for a day off.

Anyone who had pulled a sickie in the past 12 months was asked if they had taken any steps to cover their tracks to make sure they weren’t found out.

Nearly half (43 per cent) say they had posted something on social media about feeling unwell, such as a status or picture, to make their story seem more plausible. On the contrary, 19 per cent avoid social media altogether in order to not trip up and post something that gave their secret away.

When asked what how they had spent the day when they pulled a sickie, 76 per cent state ‘watching TV/films’. One in ten (11 per cent) say they’d had a day out somewhere 9 per cent confess to using their ‘sick’ day to get some chores done around the house.

The poll also reveals that 21 per cent of the respondents had previously got a parent, friend or partner to call their place of work for them when they wanted to stay home sick (regardless of whether or not they were genuinely unwell). However, only 12 per cent of these people say they were too poorly to make the phone call themselves.

Chris Clarkson, managing director of, says, ‘It seems that a fair few people have tarnished their brand new sickness record at work already this year, all for a sneaky day off. We found it interesting to see how many people use social media to make their ‘illness’ seem more believable, perhaps in the process getting unfair sympathy from their unsuspecting friends and family.

‘As for those risking a day out when they’ve called in sick, that’s definitely a dangerous game!’

Further reading on calling in sick

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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