34% of workers admit to ‘skiving’

With the economic climate as it is, businesses are looking for ways to streamline processes and increase any available margins. Identifying false sickness claims can be an easy money-saving ‘win’.

A poll of 1,190 workers in 2011 identified that at least 34% of workers have taken time off from work under false pretences, with many of those polled suggesting that boredom and stress contributed to their decisions. These ‘skiving’ workers would often plan their sickness in advance, even going as far as to fake symtoms around the office.

“131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2011”

Office for National Statistics.

Paying for these sick days can soon add up to a significant wage bill, which of course can put a strain on any business, especially smaller firms.

“Absenteeism costs British business around £32bn a year, but our findings suggest a large chunk of this loss is preventable.”

Neil Roden, Partner at PwC.

Sickness & absence patterns

  • The most common reason for sickness in 2011 was ‘minor illnesses’ such as coughs and colds
  • Musculoskeletal problems account for the highest number of days off – 35 million
  • Sickness rates are higher in women and older workers
  • Sickness rates are lower in workers aged 16-34, rising to a peak at 50-64
  • Organisations with 500+ employees suffer the highest percentage of lost working hours

Comparing your sickness statistics to the above could help identify anomalies in your workforce.

What can be done to prevent ‘skiving’ workers?

Proactively tracking an employee’s attendance is often the first step to preventing a culture of absenteeism. If employees know accurate electronic records are being kept of their arrival and departure this can provide an instant deterrent as the employees know these records are monitored and action is taken based upon them. Many options are available and can be configured to match any working culture.

Other methods include introducing flexible working arrangements which can help reduce the feeling of boredom or stress in work forces.

“Most employees want just a little flexibility to control their lives, with the opportunity to vary their hours slightly on a daily basis according to their own preference.”

Staffordshire University