Employees lie to take time off

One in three UK workers admit to lying to take time off work, mainly because of disillusionment with their jobs, finds research.

The majority (61 per cent) claim they are simply bored and depressed with work, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Good weather, hangovers, and romance are motivations for 11 per cent, 18 per cent and 5 per cent of ‘skivers’ respectively.

Neil Roden, HR consulting partner at PwC, says, ‘Absenteeism costs British business around £32 billion a year, but our findings suggest a large chunk of this loss is preventable.

‘If people are bored and depressed with their jobs, employers need to think creatively how they can get people back in gear. Rather than a sign of laziness, unwarranted leave can mean people are under-used.’

For 21 per cent of workers, family responsibilities are the real reason behind ‘sick’ days, perhaps highlighting the difficulties people face achieving a work-life balance.

Illness is the favoured excuse for 83 per cent of skivers, with four out of ten even faking symptoms around the office in preparation for a day off. Half of all excuses involve gastro related problems.

Roden adds, ‘Employers need to use both carrot and stick. If it’s very easy to call in sick, or you don’t even need to call at all, then people are more likely to abuse the system. But if there’s more of a process to follow, people are more likely to think twice about taking time off.

‘With UK absenteeism levels double those recorded in the US, it is vital British employers get to grips with the problem to ensure the UK remains competitive.’

See also: Excuses for absence revealed by employees

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of smallbusiness.co.uk) before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...

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