PracticeConsultingSkiving costs UK economy billions

Skiving costs UK economy billions

Throwing a sickie, flunking or crying-off - the devious practice of missing work for the fun of it - is placing a significant burden on UK business and costing the economy a small fortune.

Every employee takes an average of nine days off a year citing stress, flu and back pain as reasons for being absent at a combined cost to business of £12bn annually, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

But, say the majority of UK managers, one-in-three of these sick days are actually ‘faked’ and while employees hide under the duvet, watch television, sit on the beach or take in a day’s cricket, UK businesses foot a rather hefty £4bn bill.

But managers are no innocent angels; rather they are part of the problem. The CIPD found that figures would be a lot higher if the number of ‘hidden days’ were taken into account, the result of managers under-reporting more than a quarter of their own sickness absences.

Diane Sinclair, the CIPD’s adviser in employee relations, said openness and an honest culture were essential ingredients to solving the problem of absenteeism.

‘The majority of employees don’t want to let their employer down,’ she said. ‘If managers treat people like grown-ups, they will act like grown-ups.’

She added that huge savings could be made if companies managed absence, by tackling the ‘organisational issues’ causing it.

Popular suggestions for tackling the problem include return-to-work interviews, redesigning jobs, and introducing more flexible work hours.

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All work and no play makes business unprofitable

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