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Eight in 10 Workers Admit Using Flu as an Excuse to Skive off Work


Eight in 10 employees (83%) would consider using the Norovirus as a perfect excuse to 'pull a sickie' for a couple of days off work, according to a survey of 2,698 UK employees by Manchester based employment law firm, Peninsula. The survey also shows that 73% of workers have used 'flu like symptoms as an excuse in the past, and gotten away with it.

Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula said today: "It’s the perfect excuse for a couple of days off work and it’s easy to justify and difficult for employers to prove that their employees illness is non-genuine. Employees are being told to stay away from their GPs and advised to take time off work. The legitimacy of their absence is difficult to prove. However, attending work with the virus may increase the health risks to fellow colleagues."

Mr Done added: "Employee’s need to be aware that a 'cry wolf' situation is likely to occur should they take un-legitimate time off work claiming to be infected by the virus. Calling in sick whilst in full health can become a problem later on. With the Norovirus being highly contagious it is likely that many employees will at some point become infected and require time off. If the employee has already used this excuse as a chance to 'skive' from work then the employer is less likely to believe them."

"Regular short term absences are an increasing burden on business and the appearance of the Norovirus is an open invitation for 'skivers' to take a few days off work," continued Mr Done. "Employers need to ensure that their staff know that they take absenteeism seriously and that re-occurrences are monitored closely. Employers should conduct a return to work interview on the employees return, to ensure that the Norovirus bug is the real reason for absence. Employers can also conduct an investigation should they feel that their employee is off work with no proof of illness."

Mr Done concludes: "With Norovirus, government guidelines must be followed and the individual is required to stay off work for at least 48 hours. Should symptoms last longer than a week, an employee needs to see a doctor so that they can first be put on the track back to good health and second to get a sick note and return to work date."

The legal line at Peninsula has received 2,245 calls since New Years day from concerned employers regarding absenteeism caused by the Norovirus.


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