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Why Employees “Pull Sickies”

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Aisling Harrison Work Life Balance, Lifestyle, Blog...

We’ve had Blue Monday, the allegedly most depressing day of the year. Now, coming up next week is the first Monday of February – National Sickie Day – the day of the year people are most likely to ‘pull a sickie’. 

We questioned if Blue Monday was as morbid as the myth. But whether or not the first Monday of February is when most employees ‘pull a sickie’, year-round, on average 27% of UK workers will “pull a sickie” when they feel fine to avoid going to work. 

But why do people want to avoid going to work when they’re not ill?


SEASON 

National Sickie Day was coined as statistics noticed an increase in employee absences on the first Monday of February. Similarly to the sadness associated with Blue Monday, it is suggested that National Sickie Day is also caused by the season. 

For a lot of workers, it is the first Monday after payday and the end to Dry January. By Monday, people have still not recovered from a weekend of celebrating. Although technically employees guilty of this may not be feeling well, being hung-over on a workday is self-inflicted, irresponsible and unprofessional.

In addition, January and February are the most popular seasons for job hunting. Disgruntled workers spend January sending out their updated CVs to recruitment agencies or potential employers, with many ‘pulling sickies’ to attend interviews in early February. 


SATISFACTION

Although the first two months of the year are the busiest for job seekers, employees can be dissatisfied all year round and ‘pull sickies’ to avoid work. 

Unhappiness at work might be temporary, with people suffering from long-term misery at work more likely to quit. Tension with colleagues or particularly busy periods are core reasons for people wanting to avoid work. 

Unfortunately, in stressful or volatile times, avoiding the problem only exacerbates it for when you return and the issue will play on your mind even if you’re not at work. Whatever the issue, ‘pulling a sickie’ will not resolve it. 


ENTITLEMENT 

People who have had the fortune of good health, sometimes feel like they are justified to have a day off sick instead of taking annual leave. Other colleagues have had time off (no matter how genuine) and they think after a while, it’s their turn. 


SCHEDULING 

Poor forward-thinking and planning can be a big cause for people ‘pulling sickies’, particularly if they have used all of their annual leave. 

  • Non-medical appointments
  • Car services
  • Childcare 
  • Moving house 
  • Deliveries

People deceitfully take time off work by ‘pulling a sickie’ simply because it is inconvenient for them. 


WHY EMPLOYEES DON’T ‘PULL SICKIES’ 

Ultimately, because they are honest, fair and enjoy their work. Plus, they may genuinely need time off work due to illness at some point, why waste this when it isn’t needed? 

There really isn’t a certain type of person who pulls a sickie, people do it for different reasons, but it is immoral and promises huge repercussions if you’re caught. 

For employers, the question isn’t “how to stop your staff from faking being ill?” The alternative question may be how to improve employee wellbeing and satisfaction

If you’re an employee, tempted to ‘pull a sickie’, firstly, as said above, it promises huge repercussions if you’re caught! But even if you get away with it, and maybe even enjoy your day off being ‘ill’, it will negatively impact some else who is relying on you. 

Is it really worth it?