Laissez faire: British workers less likely to fake illness than the French

British workers are much less likely to fake an illness to avoid work than their French or German counterparts, a new study finds.

Brits are among the most honest workers in Europe when it comes to pulling ‘sickies’ and are less likely to fake illness, according to new research.

Contrary to popular belief, less than a third of Brits (29 per cent) fake illness to get days off work, a modest figure compared to other workers across Europe.

The research, conducted by Powwownow, finds that French workers are the ones who take advantage of sick days the most, more than half of the French workforce (58 per cent) admit to faking an illness to their employer at least once a year.

Surprisingly, the regimented Germans are nearly as bad as the French when it comes to faking illness, with nearly half (49 per cent) lying to their employer about it.

Workers across Holland and Sweden were found to be least likely to fake sick days, with just 11 per cent and 15 per cent respectively doing so. Interestingly, these two countries came out on top when asked about the work-life balance offered by their employers.

Across the continent the research has shown more women fake being sick compared to men, as more than a third (38 per cent) of women confess to doing so, compared to just a fifth of men (21 per cent).

It also seems that the younger generation are more inclined to pull a sickie, the majority of 18-34 year olds (85 per cent) admit to pretending to be ill, compared to just under a third of over 45 year olds (32 per cent).

Jason Downes managing director of Powwownow, finds it interesting to see that so few Brits actually fake an illness to get off work. One might assume the figure would be higher, but it’s encouraging to see nonetheless!

Downes adds, ‘I think it’s fascinating that Dutch and Swedish workers are least likely to lie about being sick, as they are also given the most favourable work-life balance in Europe. The two certainly go hand-in hand; if employers look after their staff by offering flexibility, their workers will be more willing to work in return.

‘In the UK we can certainly learn something from these results; if employers keep their workforce happy and motivated, they are much more likely to have a better work ethic and avoid faking an illness.’

Further reading on sickness

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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