32% of UK bosses believe staff should remain at home when ill

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At this time of year it’s a foregone conclusion that employees will be off work for undefined periods due to illness, and this is mostly fine with a significant number of their bosses according to a recent survey which tackled the oft-thorny subject of winter staff shortages amongst other key issues relating to sickness and absences in the workplace.

Rather than choosing to turn up at work and risk spreading their viral germs, some 32% of management level respondents admitted that they preferred it if under-the-weather employees took time off sick, and essentially stayed at home until they’ve recovered.

Indeed, nearly one third of senior staff plumped for this option when asked in a poll by Axa PPP Healthcare.

In total 1,000 firms were asked for their views on wide-ranging staff health-related topics, to determine a cross-section of opinions regarding company’s policies and protocols in the event of winter bugs biting.


One of the overriding findings was that those polled were of the impression that sickness absence levels could be reduced (together with general employee health improving) when they were granted access to various healthcare benefits.

Elsewhere and AXA’s research shed further light on employer’s attitudes toward staff absences across the board, and discovered that 29% of respondents would describe themselves as ‘concerned’ by the amount of working time compromised by employees excusing themselves from the working day to attend medical appointments.

Business leaders think productivity is compromised by employees attending medical appointments during work hours


In relation to this very topic, the study revealed that 8% (or pretty much 1 in 10) bosses would request that staff arranged to take half a day’s official holiday so as to cover the shortfall in time lost to medical appointments.

Whilst a figure of 12% of those questioned would see that employees who took time out during working hours for this very reason made up for it at a latter juncture.

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Meanwhile 17% of those polled admitted that – despite being sympathetic to their employee’s health statuses – their patience (and good nature) would be stretched should they elect to take more than 3 days off sick at a time. That said, conversely 28% thought that sick employees should ideally be allowed to stay off work however long it took for them to overcome their illness, respecting any treatment and recuperation required.

Addressing the area of health impacting on productivity levels, and almost half of those posed the questions (49%) concurred that staff efficiency would be markedly improved if they received a speedy diagnosis (and associated information) about ways to address their illness and the measures they needed to take to alleviate the transient situation.

Incidentally, the study confirmed that 35% of company movers and shakers delayed seeking treatment for their own health problems, citing lengthy working hours and pressures of the job as the reason.

An Axa PPP Healthcare spokesperson offered their own insight into the results of the research by saying; “Time away from work due to sickness absence and medical appointments can be frustrating- both for employees and for employers.”

They went on to conclude that; “7 out of 10 of the bosses we surveyed agreed that providing healthcare benefits across the workforce can help reduce sickness absence, improve health and aid employee retention yet, in our experience, employers tend to provide medical insurance to senior managers only.”