Majority of employees go to work sick

Bosses concerned illness could spread in workforce and most send sick employees home
By
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/14/2005

Employees who come to work sick are a growing concern for employers, according to a recent survey.

Nearly half of employers who participated in a survey conducted by publishing firm CCH said that sick workers who show up for work are a problem, up 20 per cent from last year.

In a Canadian survey by staffing firm OfficeTeam, 80 per cent of respondents said they frequently show up to work while sick, of those more than half said they come into work very frequently when sick.

In a separate survey of 100 senior executives, just 13 per cent of respondents said they thought sick employees came into work very frequently when ill.

“Many employees fear they’ll fall behind if they stay at home when they’re not feeling well,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “However, it’s preferable to take a day or two to recuperate rather than risk exacerbating a condition or passing an illness on to coworkers.”

Employers fear that if one employee’s illness spreads, a greater proportion of the workforce could get sick, severely affecting the company’s productivity. Managers have to let employees know that staying home is the right thing to do when they’re sick, said Domeyer.

The CCH survey found that employers are using a variety of strategies to do just that. More than half of organizations reported they send sick employees home, 41 per cent educate employees on the importance of staying home when sick and 36 per cent try to foster a culture that discourages employees from coming to work sick.

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