Employers to Spell Out Sickness Policy


The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged employers to tell staff to take time off work to recover when they are ill, as it found that sick employees are dragging themselves into work for fear of giving a bad impression.


The survey, conducted for Benylin, found that 73% of employers would prefer staff to stay at home and recover when they are sick, rather than spend an unproductive day in the office. It also found that 57% of staff would not take a day off unless they were severely ill. BCC policy director Chris Hannant said:

“In the current economic environment employees may feel the need more than ever to go beyond the call of duty and work through an infectious illness. However, this is not the way to make a positive impression. Given the gap between employer and employee views, the findings suggest that there needs to be a bit more common sense about taking sick leave when you’re ill and employers need to spell this out more clearly,” he added.

The research also highlighted that employers are concerned about the spread of infectious illness within the workplace. The survey found that 84% of employers view infectious illness as the most acceptable reason for staff to take a sick day, and 53% said they have experienced a domino effect with two or more staff succumbing to the same illness. Benylin spokeswoman Eleonore Droulers said:

“Our research has shown that by struggling into the office when ill, employees not only compromise their productivity, but they also risk infecting their colleagues,”

“By encouraging sick employees to take a day off to recover fully, employers can help to prevent the spread of infection in the office,” she added. “It is realistic, and makes good business sense, for any size organisation to ensure that their employees are 100% effective when they are in the office.”

Commenting on the survey, GP Dr Rob Hicks added:

“Some employees may find that by taking one day off to recover fully, they are less likely to take more days off later in the cold and flu season when they become even more run down.”

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