What? National Sickie Day! Really?


Yes Really!

There are national days and weeks for all sorts of things these days. Its probably harder to find something that there isn’t a national day for.

We’ve got National Pie Week, National Bring your Dog to Work Day, National Christmas Jumper Day and so on. Today, Monday 6th February 2017, is the turn of National Sickie Day. Yep, the first Monday in February, each year,  is believed to be the day in the year where the greatest number of employees will phone in sick.

We aren’t particularly sure why the first Monday in February (other than it’s the first weekend after Dry January!) is the one that stands out and have yet to see any statistical evidence that backs this up. There are numerous studies which do highlight Monday as being the most common day employees would phone in sick, and it is fairly obvious to see why as its the first working day after a weekend. However there is nothing to suggest why this particular Monday should see a greater number of employees phoning in sick. There are suggestions such as already being back at work for a month since Christmas, the cold weather or the thought that the Summer break is still so far away.

We would tend to think there might be a bit more hype than substance to the claim this particular day as National Sickie Day.

In fact I would be sure that if thorough research was to be conducted it is highly likely that this day would fall on different days/months each year due to a variety of circumstances. Flu outbreaks, sporting events, National Celebrations and even a sudden cold snap could cause an increase in employees calling in sick.

However National Sickie Day does raise some valid points.

Absenteeism, particularly short term unplanned absence,  can have a huge impact on an organisation particularly if there was a sudden spike in the number of employees absent at any particular time.

1) Employee Workload – Customer orders, Deadlines and deliveries don’t change because some staff are missing. This is likely to mean those staff that are in will need to pick up on the work that their colleagues should be doing. In combination with their own workload this can put a strain on these employees, impacting morale and possibly contributing to stress. Both of these can in turn increase the risk of these employees contributing to absenteeism, creating a negative cycle.

2) Costs – With those employees in work having to cover the workload of their missing colleagues it is likely that extra hours will need to be worked to ensure the work is completed. This typically means overtime and extra pay. Overtime reduces profitability, and it is no longer just the one hit. With recent legal cases and court judgements, regular overtime must now be included in the calculation of Holiday pay. If unplanned absence is regularly resulting in overtime, then your costs are being affected twice.

It is obviously very tricky to plan for and manage the situation when employees do unexpectedly phone in sick but there are things you can do to be as prepared as possible.

Having a robust absence management system in place will allow you to proactively manage both historic and planned absence.

By recording each instance of absence, including the reason, a good absence management system will be able to give you important information. For instance allowing you to track the number of days absent and spot trends with employee absence, such as “always the first Monday In February”, or regular lateness.

The data will give you a good insight into behaviour through and will help flag any potential issues between genuine absence and ‘sickie days’.

Having an increased knowledge of your companies absenteeism trends, you can put plans into place to minimise the impact. Putting robust policies in place, making slight shift adjustments such as a staggered start to shifts, or speaking with employees about their absence record. When employees know their company has full and accurate records of their absence, they are less likely to take the odd day here and there.

A good absence management system will allow you to record and forward plan absences such as Holidays. This will give you a clear view of absences coming up and therefore plan more effectively for that period. A good system will also prevent over booking of holidays, which means no unnecessary days are lost.

Let us know if you see a sudden increase in absence in your business today, or indeed how you manage to keep absenteeism down.

If you would like more information about absence management, methods or recording option then please get in touch

Posted in Absences, Permatek.

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