11.05.2009

Employees who work when unwell risk longer-term sick leave

Workers who go to work when ill significantly increase their chances of having
to take long-term sick leave later on, new research has revealed. Going to work
when ill is a phenomenon known as sickness presence, or presenteeism, but
relatively little research has been done into the long-term impact of this
behaviour. The Danish researchers questioned 12,000 people of working age on
their attitudes to work, preparedness to take time off when ill, and general
health.

They were asked how many times in the previous year they had gone to work
despite feeling ill. Around 42% said they had never gone into work feeling ill,
or had only done it once. Almost half said they had gone to work feeling ill
between two and five times, and 8% reported having done it six times or more.
Over the next 18 months, the researchers used official information to assess
how many people had time off sick lasting more than a fortnight. They found
that the more often people had come into work when unwell, the greater their
risk of being off sick for at least two weeks during the study. Workers who had
done this at least half a dozen times were 53% more likely to end up going off
sick for two weeks, and 74% more likely to take more than two months of sick
leave, compared with those who did not come to work when ill.


More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work