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I Don't Like Mondays – What More Reason Do You Need?

National Sickie Day
03 February 2020

National Sickie Day – does it still exist? Not according to the occupational health and business support specialist that claims to have coined the day some ten years ago – but Monday is the day most people phone in sick.

When people were asked in a survey 'what reason made you choose to take a Monday off', the most popular answer was 'Mondays are miserable'.




The Elas Group offers HR support, employment law advice and a range of H&S and absence management consultancy services. A spokesperson stated: "We first described National Sickie Day nearly 10 years ago when our absence management team noticed that there was an increased trend for absences on the first Monday of February.

"It quickly gathered pace and became a national phenomenon, with businesses up and down the country finding that National Sickie Day was indeed a problem within their company too.

"According to our most recent research National Sickie Day stopped being a 'thing' back in 2017. However, we have uncovered that there are other Mondays throughout the year where absence rates are higher. The same can be said with Blue Monday – it simply doesn’t exist anymore."


To read ThisWeekinFM's Blue Monday article – Click Here


Top Ten Sickie Mondays


According to Elas' research, the Top 10 days of 2019 for employee absences all fell on a Monday and every Monday in January was on the list:

September 16 | February 4 | April 29 | June 10 | January 28 | January 7 | April 1 | January 2 | January 14 | June 3


What made the headache go away?


It seems that employers are becoming more active in  monitoring their employee absences – and it has helped that fewer people want to throw a sickie on sickie day.

According to Elas: "Introducing an absence management service (including software) into your business means that you have a robust absence management procedure in place. Back this up with policies, procedures and thorough Bradford reporting and you’re able to set a precedent throughout your company that un-genuine absences aren’t tolerated and will be found out."

Wikipedia explains: "The Bradford Formula is used in human resource management as a means of measuring worker absenteeism. The theory is that short, frequent, and unplanned absences are more disruptive than longer absences."


Keeping an eye on absence


The Top three absence reasons in 2019 were:

Gastrointestinal issues – 23.98%.

Cold, cough and flu – 16.34%

Headache – 7.39%

Whilst a high proportion of these will be genuine, it could be worth asking for more detailed accounts to be given when such illnesses are reported – this should make people think twice about faking these common reasons. Even so, it can still be difficult to differentiate between genuine absences and illnesses that are mere fabrication – whilst employers will usually have to give absentees the benefit of the doubt, well-documented reporting and return to work processes should act as a deterrent for poor, vague or repeated excuses. 


Excuses, excuses


It would be wrong to always consider someone calling in with an illness as 'throwing a sickie' – research by IT company Insight based on a recent Kantar survey (of 1,250 working adults) calculated that nearly 9 million sick days are taken because employees just can't cope with the dissatisfaction or pressure of work. The same survey said that 35 per cent of the working population don't take sick days even when they genuinely need to – they come in to work and spread their germs around. 

Glen Parkinson, managing director at AXA PPP healthcare stresses that it's important to allow employees experiencing genuine sickness to take the days off they need in order it optimise productivity and minimise illnesses spreading:

“In many cases it is more productive for an employee to take a day off to recover from a spell of illness rather than to come into work, with diminished productivity and, for likes of colds and flu, the potential to spread their illness to workmates.”

– Glen Parkinson

Managing Director, AXA PPP healthcare

However, some poor excuses have been recorded through Elas' absence management service such as the death of a grandfather well known to the company's HR manager – with the HR manager bumping into the 'deceased' in the supermarket.

A pet animal had chewed the employee’s shoes, meaning they couldn’t get to work.

Sister-in-law is in labour. Although there was no sister-in-law and no baby!


Picture: National Sickie Day on the first Monday of February no longer exists but Monday throughout the year is still the most popular day to 'feel unwell'.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 03 February 2020


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