One in five staff 'takes sickies'

Woman sneezing
Image caption Not all sick leave is the result of genuine illness, the survey says.

One in five UK workers feigned an illness the last time they took a day off work as sick leave, a survey has suggested.

There are a collective 800 million sick days taken each year across Europe, with more than 20% of them in the UK, the poll for Aon Consulting claimed.

However, thousands of workers took "sickies" to look after family and friends, the group said.

Others said that more interesting work would prevent them taking days off.


The group polled 7,500 workers across Europe, including 1,005 in the UK, and found that Danes were the least likely to feign illness to get time off work.

Only 4% said they fabricated illnesses for their last day off, compared with 21% of those in the UK.

"These are probably conservative figures, considering the number of people who do not admit to faking sickness," said Peter Abelskamp, of Aon Consulting.

"Employers would be well advised to tackle the issues of sickness and workplace absence head-on, as these seriously impact efficiency and hit their balance sheets."

A recent poll by the CBI found that the average UK worker took 6.4 days off through sickness last year, the lowest number since 1987.

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