Survey Finds Employees Needing More Sick Day Flexibility

December 20, 2006 ( - A recent survey sponsored by Kronos Incorporated found the vast majority of respondents have gone to work sick and this "presenteeism" has a negative impact on the workforce.

According to a press release on the survey results, 98% of full-time employees surveyed said they have gone to work when they are sick. Respondents said when employees come to work sick it creates a work environment where they are afraid of getting sick, makes them upset with their employer for not encouraging sick employees to stay home, and sets a precedent where employees feel like they must go to work even if they are sick.

Employees surveyed suggested employers should not penalize workers for calling in sick and should offer paid time off (PTO) programs that give employees a bank of time to use at their discretion, the release said.

The most-cited reasons respondents gave for presenteeism included:

  • I feel guilty for calling in;
  • My workload is too heavy;
  • I save my sick time for personal reasons like family emergencies, sick children, parent care issues and other unexpected events; and
  • I try to have perfect attendance.

On the other hand, 39% of survey respondents said they had abused sick time, admitting to such things as going to the beach, going shopping, and spending the day at the spa after they had called in sick.

The survey was conducted online within the US by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kronos Incorporated between September 25 and 27, 2006 among 1,117 adults (age 18 and over) who are employed full time.