POSTED: February 05 2019
Over half of UK workers feel too guilty to take sick days and it’s affecting their mental health

Over half of UK workers feel too guilty to take sick days and it’s affecting their mental health

Research has found that the majority of Brits (73.7%) actually only take one or two sick days a year. What’s more, less than one in five (17.5%) said they have ‘pulled a sickie’ in the last 12 months.

On line recruiter, CV Library, has looked in more detail at just how many sick days the average Brit takes each year, and the affect this has on their physical and mental health.


Why aren’t Brits taking sick days?

Worryingly, over half (52.5%) of professionals said they feel too guilty to take time off when they’re genuinely ill.

When asked why they feel too guilty to call in sick, the main reason was because they didn’t want to leave their team in the lurch (50.6%). Other key findings include:

  • One in five (24.1%) don’t like taking sick days as they believe it reflects badly on them
  • A further 13.9% say their boss is not very understanding if they are ill
  • And over one in 10 (13.2%) say calling in sick is frowned upon in their workplace


Are UK professionals overworked?

What’s more, we also explored the impact that working overtime can have on people’s physical and mental health. According to the study, two thirds of Brits (64%) confess to  working more than their contracted hours, with 11.3% working an extra 15 hours each week.

Commenting on these concerning findings, Lee Biggins, CEO of CV-Library, said: “We’re all guilty of overworking ourselves, especially if we’re trying to make a great impression. But the truth is, going into work when you’re not feeling well is counterproductive. When we’re unwell we find it hard to be as alert and it can be  difficult to focus.

“What’s more, depending on the nature of your illness, you could pass this on to other members of the team, causing it to spread. Therefore, it’s best to take time out to look after your mental and physical health when you need to, so you can return to work feeling fresh and productive.”


What can be done to address the problem?

To help out those who are affected, the CV Library has put together some advice for anyone who feels guilty about taking sick days, or has an employer who makes them feel bad for doing so.

  • Speak to your manager: If you feel your manager is being unfair, try speaking to them about your situation, whether it’s problems with your physical or mental health. Together you might be able to come to an arrangement to suit both parties.
  • Create work-life balance: If being overworked is affecting your health, try to create a better work-life balance. Don’t answer work calls or reply to emails after hours and limit the amount of overtime you do.
  • Practise self-care: Take time for yourself before/after work and on your weekends. Do something you enjoy or that helps you unwind. Exercise can be a great way to de-stress and boost your mood.
  • Find a new company: If your boss isn’t able to help or your existing company is not very supportive, it might be time to search for jobs elsewhere! Look for an employer who offers flexible working or mental health days and a culture that promotes work-life balance. 



You can see the original of this article on the CV Library website here.