I hope you are not tempted to call in sick today… but if you do, you’re not alone! – today (Monday, February 4) is traditionally the day when most people are likely to ‘pull a sickie’. Known as ‘National Sickie Day’, the first Monday in February is deemed the most popular day of the year to call in sick, typically, we’ll blame colds or the flu when contacting our bosses.

However, there are a few reasons why this day is when a lot of people choose to not go to work. One is that this day follows the first payday weekend since Christmas, when many people may have headed out to celebrate the end of January.  Also, after the New Year, many people have re-evaluated their careers and may take the day off to attend interviews.

According to some Employment Law experts, it was estimated that the amount of employees who called in sick on 2017 National Sickie Day was 350,000 and they predicted this cost the UK economy around £45million due to lost hours, wages and overtime, but overall 39 million working days a year are lost due too sickies, costing UK businesses a staggering £4billion.

And the best excuses, here we list our top 5:

  • My only pair of work trousers is in the wash
  • I contracted food poisoning from a chocolate bar I ate last night
  • The dog ate my shoes
  • I woke up in a good mood and didn’t want to ruin it
  • I stayed out partying last night and haven’t had any sleep

Despite all this it is not all bad news for employers. The ONS reports overall sickness levels are falling with figures dating to mid-2017 showing the average number of absence days at work having almost halved since 1993 – going from 7.2 days to 4.1 days.

As an employer there are a few things you can do to try and limit your employees calling in sick – make sure they phone you – it’s harder to stick to a made up excuse talking to someone in person rather than texting in. Also you are perfectly entitled to challenge the authenticity of an absence; if an excuse seems too far-fetched then ask for evidence if appropriate.

Don’t allow an ‘absence culture’ to flourish in your workplace, get in touch if you need any further advice on how to improve sickness and absence, call +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk