Confused.com has revealed more than a third of workers (35 per cent) admit having lied to their boss about the reason they have missed work. Popular excuses workers use to pull the wool over their employer’s eyes include flu, stomach aches, diarrhoea and bad backs. However, the astonishing number of people who still go into work when they are actually unwell implies a dangerous culture of ‘presenteeism’.
The poll of 2,000 UK workers also reveals the top five professions where people are more likely to make up an excuse to their boss about missing work. These are call centres (54 per cent), utilities (47 per cent), the voluntary sector (45 per cent), health (43 per cent) and fashion and design (42 per cent).
Meanwhile it also highlights the regions where workers fib the most too. These are East Anglia (40 per cent), the East Midlands (38 per cent), the North East (37 per cent) Yorkshire and the Humber (37 per cent), and the South East (37 per cent).
Despite many employees making up excuses to have a day off, many more still soldier on and go in to work despite feeling unwell. More than half (55 per cent) of people polled said they had gone into work when they felt too ill to do so because they were worried about what their boss or colleagues would think.
Confused.com is warning UK workers to consider what protection they have in place in case long-term illness does strike. Matt Lloyd, Head of Life Insurance at Confused.com, said: “Our research suggests that the culture of turning up to work ill is more of a threat than ‘pulling a sickie’. It is very worrying that workers are not prioritising their own health and feel that they cannot take a day off sick when they are genuinely unwell.”
Matt Lloyd continued: “With many people experiencing a lack of job security over the last few years, it’s a really important time to think about protection products, such as income protection and critical illness cover, especially if you have dependents such as children or you have regular payments to make such as a mortgage.”
The research also shows that women are more likely to worry than men about taking time off sick – 64 per cent say they have been into work when they felt ill because they were afraid their boss wouldn’t believe them. Nearly half (47 per cent) of men said the same thing.
More than one in 10 workers in the UK has missed work due to a hangover, according to the study. People from the North East are most likely to miss work after a heavy night out – 15 per cent of workers polled from the region said they had missed work because they were hungover.
Other common reasons why people had missed work include simply staying in bed to catch up on sleep (10 per cent).