Softworks Blog

One Third of UK workers pull a sickie

Posted by Mairead Walsh on Wed, Sep 19, 2012

According to a new study by, 35% of UK workers admit to having lied to their boss about the reason they have missed work. Popular excuses used include flu, stomach aches, diarrhoea and bad backs.

The UK economy lost 190 million working days to absence last year, with each employee taking an average of 6.5 days off sick, according to the latest Confederation of British Industry workplace health survey. The 190 million days cost employers £17 billion, including over £2.7 billion from 30.4 million days of non-genuine sickness absence.

Who’s most likely to lie?

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

  1. Telecoms (54%)
  2. Utilities (47%)
  3. Voluntary sector (45%)Empty Chair resized 600
  4. Health (43%)
  5. Fashion and design (42%).

Despite many employees making up excuses to have a day off, many more still soldier on and go in to work despite feeling unwell.  55% 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. Women are more likely to worry with 64% saying they went into work when they felt ill because they were afraid their boss wouldn’t believe them. Nearly half 47% 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. Meanwhile, adults aged over 55, show no signs of slowing down, with one in 10 saying they had missed work because of the ill-effects of alcohol. Other common reasons why people had missed work include simply staying in bed to catch up on sleep – 10%!

 How to reduce absenteeism rates

For 21 years, Softworks have been champions of workforce management, but more recently following feedback from our customers, we have developed a web based Proactive Absence Management system, which we call PAMs for short. Our PAMs solution offers organisations a consistent, systematic, fair and automated way of reducing Absenteeism.  Softworks PAMs can assist organisations;

  • Create an end to end automated process
  • Set targets centrally while managing locally 
  • Rid businesses of the unnecessary and nonsensical absenteeism costs
  • Replace costs with savings that go straight to the bottom line!

If your organisation is battling against high absenteeism rates you are very welcome to download our free white papers on absenteeism.

(1) Top Tips - How To Reduce Absenteeism In Your Organisation

(2) How to ensure your absence policies deliver every time - Softworks Proactive Absence Management Solution (PAMs)










Topics: Absenteeism