One in three workers 'admits to skiving', survey suggests


Jon Andrews, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the cost to UK business was up to £32bn a year

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One in three UK workers admits having lied to take sick leave, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PwC polled 1,190 people, of which 34% admitted having taken time off under false pretences.

The majority of so-called "skivers" said they did so because they were bored and depressed with work.

Illness is the most common excuse. Four out of 10 said they planned their sick days by faking symptoms around the office in advance.

Some of the more incredible excuses given for missing work included a rabbit running away and amnesia.

About 15% of those who pulled "sickies" said they worked hard and deserved the time off.

"Absenteeism costs British business around £32bn a year, but our findings suggest a large chunk of this loss is preventable," said Neil Roden, a partner at PwC.

For 21% of workers, family was the real reason behind unwarranted sick days.

"Introducing or enhancing flexible working arrangements can make a difference," he added.

"Ensuring people feel they're not taken for granted is also important. Some 15% of those who provided false excuses felt they deserved the time."

Other unusual excuses included breast enhancement, injury during sex, a dart in the back of the head and one person who said their dentist had detected signs of early dementia in their gums.

A Welsh woman took time off because "limescale from the shower fell into her eye".

Pets also provided many of the excuses. One worker said he had to take his dog to the vet - forgetting that he had previously used the excuse that his dog had died.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    When I was working in the city my company gave me a laptop to use so even if I was't able to get to work I could still work from home not as productive as being in the office but at least I could do something the same was true when my children were ill. Maybe where applicable employers could consider that idea as a compromise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    In my misguided youth I and a friend were doing "woodland management" (late 60' early 70's) We'd get to our favourite spot in the forest, take some mescalin, smoke hash all day and wonder at the beauty of Mother Nature. This state of Shangri La lasted about 5 or 6 weeks until we were discovered and rightly sacked. Since that time I've been a good boy and never mixed business & pleasure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    My boss is really harsh. No doctor's note will satisfy him. It's doesn't matter how obvious my symptoms are, I'm still expected to do my job with absolutely NO option for paid overtime if the day runs over. I can't count the number of times I've felt as though I was at death's door and still had him burst into the room demanding "Wake up, mummy!". Damn, those 2-year-olds can be tough!

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    whiter company loyalty? Well, since few jobs are a job for life, and most people expect their employer to dump them in a "strategic reorganisation" at some point, they've rightly decided that if the company has no particular loyalty or care about them, then they have no loyalty or respect for the employer. Most corps. make enough to stand more time off, unofficially if need be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    I couldn't care less about my employer whilst taking a sickie - the company makes more money than I do. As for the self-employed whingers: well, you choose to be your own boss for other benefits - more money; no-one to answer to; delegating jobs, hence flexibility for yourselves. You can't have it all.


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