Over three quarters of UK workers reluctant to ask for time off for a health-related issue

Nearly a third of UK workers reluctant to ask for time off for a health-related issueMore than three quarters (79 percent) of UK workers admit to forcing themselves to go in to work despite feeling ill, two thirds (66 percent) still go to work when suffering from a cold or flu and over a fifth (22 percent) when suffering from stress, or an emotional crisis. Perhaps this is due to two fifths (40 percent) feeling their boss did not believe they were genuinely ill when they have previously taken a sick day. For those who are brave enough to bite the bullet and call in unwell, more than two thirds (67 percent) said they feel guilty for taking time off work due to illness, or health related issues. This could explain why so many are reluctant to speak to their employer about their health and wellbeing. Nearly a third (30 percent) admitted they are too scared to talk to their boss about needing time off for a health-related issue, whilst almost three quarters (72 percent) say there are times their current employer does not do enough to look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

Sat Sindhar, Managing Director at People HR, said: “In our experience, companies who encourage people to rest when they are physically or mentally unwell, benefit from lower staff turnover and better productivity.

“Besides, is it really responsible to let an ill person serve food, operate dangerous machinery, or run payroll? It concerns me to see how many employees across the UK are hesitant to call in sick due to guilt and pressure from their employer. We need to break the taboo of sick days, and be seen encouraging employees to make that decision about their health, knowing they will be supported if and when they do.”

For many, office benefits would help to improve their wellbeing and help employees perform better, making them more than just a perk of the job. Nearly half of those polled (45 percent) said they would consider workplace benefits more valuable than receiving a higher salary.

An extra day off for your birthday 33 percent
Free breakfast 30 percent
Unlimited holiday 29 percent
Fruit provided 27 percent
Allocated ‘duvet days’ (a day off when you feel like it, with no prior notice needed) 25 percent
Health insurance 25 percent
A work ‘nap room’ to have a power nap during the day 23 percent
Free massages at work 22 percent
Free yoga classes during work hours 19 percent
Discounted membership at nearby gyms 17 percent


Personal benefits such as a day off for your birthday (33 percent), unlimited holiday (29 percent) and something as simple as fruit being provided (27 percent) proved to be more popular than what most employers currently offer, discounted membership at nearby gyms (17 percent). Surprisingly nearly half (47 percent) admitted that their current employer does not offer any benefits of perks in order to improve their wellbeing.