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'National Sickie Day' sees workers take to the duvet

Dubbed 'National Sickie Day', the first Monday in February is the day of the year which has traditionally seen the highest number of workers calling in sick. But is workplace absenteeism actually on the rise?

Freezing temperatures, widespread 'flu outbreaks and a stalling economy look set to compound the misery this year, as business advisors ELAS estimate that sick day absences on 6 February may have cost the economy as much as £34 million in salary, reduced productivity and, lost opportunities.

Head of consultancy at ELAS Peter Mooney laments the fact that many employers have 'drifted' into accepting text messages and emails from staff who plan to take the day off and are failing to challenge employees' reasons for absence. Such a lax approach towards absence can allow an 'absence culture' to flourish in the workplace, hitting morale and productivity at a time when most organisations need to be looking to find ways of boosting future growth.

The good news, however, is that while the number of people suspected of calling in sick continues to grow, the actual number of days they are taking off work is falling, as the faltering economy prompts managers to address problems of absenteeism more effectively.

Acas absence management training helps reduce sickness absence in the workplace and improve overall workplace productivity through creating an attendance culture. Experts are also on hand to work with organisations to assess specific needs and design tailored training programmes to help improve attendance and manage absence.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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