Shock figures on National Sickie Day

Millions of working dads are skipping work out of sheer frustration with their job according to research on the date dubbed National Sickie Day

Sick man lying on sofa at home and blowing nose


Millions of working dads are taking sickies even when they want to work from home.

New research on the day that is known as National Sickie Day found over eight million people stayed away from work because their job was too stressful last year.

It’s claimed more people phone in sick on the first Monday in February than on any other date.

IT company Insight, that released the findings based on research by polling firm Kantar, called for more flexible working as a solution.

Job too hard

Around a quarter of respondents in the Kantar survey said they’d taken a day off work in the past 12 months because they found their job too hard.

A fifth said they’d have happily worked from home while feeling unwell but their bosses wouldn’t let them.

Employees are often caught in a bind when feeling unwell over whether to go to their workplace. Some feel well enough to work but don’t want to go to their workplace for fear of spreading their illness and making more colleagues unwell, disrupting business further.

The biggest proportion – over a third – said they’d gone in to work despite feeling ill.

Duty of care

“Employers have a duty of care to their employees to look after their safety and wellbeing, and this includes their physical and mental health,” said Tom Neil, Acas Senior Adviser. “For people to be able to be honest about how they feel at work, good work practices including having an inclusive culture and effective people management are key.”

Only around five per cent of working dads have a formal flexible working arrangement. Many more are believed to have informal arrangements. But asking for time off for feeling unwell can be equally, if not more, hard than requesting time off for childcare.

Separate research to mark National Sickie Day reported the daftest excuses offered for skipping work. ‘The dog ate my specs’ and ‘it’s too foggy in my house’ were apparently offered as reasons for not coming in. The number one bad excuse was the tasteless effort, ‘I’ve got ebola’.

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