Life - Articles - Almost 22m people have worked whilst under the weather

Over the last two years, more than two-thirds (68%) of UK workers - equating to 21.7 million people - have continued to work while feeling unwell, according to new research conducted by Canada Life

 When asked about the reasons for working while feeling unwell, 25%2 said their workload is or has been too heavy and 23% feel like too many people rely on them to warrant taking time off. Other reasons are that workers:

 • Do not want to give their colleagues more work to do - 22%
 • Can work from home, so they still feel they need to, or can, work when unwell - 17%
 • Are made to feel guilty by other colleagues / senior members of staff for taking time off work - 13%
 • Do not feel secure enough in their job to take time off work - 9%

 For those workers who did call in sick, nearly one in 10 (8%) have had their illness or inability to work questioned by their manager.

 Financial concerns sway people from taking time off sick
 Within the last two years 18% UK workers have worked through illness because of the financial consequences of taking time off, and 10% are not taking time off because they are worried about not getting paid.

 Dan Crook, Interim MD Group Protection, Canada Life, comments: “Presenteeism is alive and well, as shown by the significant number of workers not taking the time off to allow themselves to recover when ill. There is no doubt that this is in part being driven by an uncertain economic climate, and employers must recognise that their employees may have greater anxieties around losing their job. Fostering a workplace culture where employees feel at ease to take sick leave and step away from their day to day priorities to focus on their wellbeing, without questioning or hesitation, is key.

 “Employees must also understand the importance of taking time off, and employers have a role to play in facilitating this. Recognising this, policies such as Group Income Protection, Group Critical Illness and Group Life Insurance demonstrates a commitment to not only their employees’ wellbeing and financial security, but equally that of their family too.”

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