More than one-third of U.S. workers fake sick in the summer

Unplanned days off affect productivity and office morale: survey

When the beautiful weather starts, workers in the United States are more likely to call in sick when they’re really not, according to a new survey.

According to the Workforce Institute’s Summer Absenteeism survey of 1,077 workers, 39 per cent of full-time employees have called in sick to enjoy a day off during the summer season — something the survey refers to as seasonal absence syndrome (SAS).

When asked why they call in sick to enjoy a day off, the most-cited responses were as follows:

• “I needed a mental health day.”

• “The weather was great and I wanted to enjoy the day.”

• “My workload is heavy so I spontaneously take time off when I can.”

The survey also suggests that the so-called SAS can have a negative impact in the workplace.

When the survey asked employees what impact it had on them when apparently healthy fellow workers called in sick, the most commonly identified concerns were:

• productivity suffered because there were fewer people to do the work;

• it encouraged others to do the same; and

• it lowered morale and increased stress.

As such, employment experts suggest special programs and activities to keep employees focused and motivated during the lazy, hazy days of summer. These can include offering summer hours, flexible schedules and telecommuting options.

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