Financial concerns weigh heavily of the minds of women, with more than a quarter (28%) stating they would be anxious about losing out financially if they were to take a sick day, compared to less than a fifth (18%) of men.
MetLife’s survey also showed UK adults fret over other aspects of taking sick leave from work. A fifth (21%) said they would be worried their boss or other colleagues would not believe they are actually poorly if they took a day off, and almost the same number (20%) said they worry about the amount of work they will have to come back to.
However, not all employees feel plagued with worry if they need to take a day off. One in six (17%) workers believe they would be supported by their colleagues, and the same number (17%) feel they could take the time they needed to recover fully.
Adrian Matthews, head of employee benefits at MetLife, comments:
“Employees should always feel that they can take time off sick when they’re not feeling their best. However, it is a delicate balance. Mental health issues have come to the forefront since the start of the pandemic and often these aren’t always visible. Whilst the individual may prefer to be at home, being in the office can be more beneficial to them. Often, with a supportive employer and line manager, they can be more closely observed and supported from the office. Burn out too is a gradual impact, so it’s important employers have an open and trusting culture to allow staff time off when it is needed to minimise a longer-term pattern and challenge occurring.”
“In addition to sick days, many employers will also offer 24/7 access to employee assistance programmes which are intended to help employees with personal problems which can impact their work, health and wellbeing. This can range from counselling aswell as financial wellbeing support aswell as programmes to improve an employee’s health. Increased pressure on our finances at the moment can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety that can build if employees don’t know where to turn for help. Communicating these benefits, which can provide a vital lifeline and impartial view, will ensure that staff always have a place to turn to for confidential advice.
“Having just lived through the pandemic, health, sickness, and the transmission of illness has never been more widely discussed. Employers should work hard to ensure their employees feel supported when they’re ill so they feel they can take the time off they need to feel better and are not creating an environment which relies on presenteeism and employees having to hide how they’re really feeling.”