Employees Are Skipping Work to Watch Sports

May 21, 2012 ( - A Kronos survey shows many employees worldwide are playing hooky to watch sports, at a great expense to their employers.

By PLANSPONSOR staff | May 21, 2012

Fifty-eight percent of Chinese employees admitted to calling in sick to watch a sporting event, the highest percentage of employees in the regions surveyed. India followed with 48%, the UK with 24%, Mexico with 21%, Australia with 19%, Canada with 13% and the U.S. with 11%.

Absences were not limited to the day of a sporting event. Many respondents said that they called in sick the day after a match because they were up late watching it: 54% in China, 41% in India, 23% in the U.K., 19% in Australia, 16% in Mexico, 9% in Canada, 7% in the U.S. and 1% in France.

Football (called soccer in the U.S.) was the sport that caused the most employees to miss work in Australia, France, Mexico and the U.K. In the U.S., it was American football, China was basketball, Canada was hockey and India was cricket.

Most employees felt bad about calling in sick to watch sports.  The percentage of respondents who felt "at least somewhat guilty" was 92% in France, 90% in China, 85% in Mexico, 78% in India, 74% in Australia, 71% in the U.S., 64% in Canada and 63% in the U.K.

Unplanned absences, such as those caused by sporting events, come at a great expense to employers. They cost 8.7% of a company’s payroll each year, according to Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute.

Jay Polansky