Vast Majority of Employees Work While Sick

March 15, 2004
Some 77 percent of employees report going to work while sick, citing heavy workloads and childcare issues as two reasons for not taking time away from work.

According to a recent Tell It Now poll by ComPsych Corp., a provider of employee assistance programs, managed behavioral health, work-life and crisis intervention services, employees said they worked when sick because:

  • My workload makes it too difficult to take off (33 percent).
  • It feels "risky" to take off in the current work environment (26 percent).
  • I save my sick days for when my kids need me (18 percent).

Only one-quarter (23 percent) of the employees interviewed said they do take off work when sick.

"Despite one of the toughest flu seasons in recent memory, the vast majority of employees who got sick forced themselves to work this winter," said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych. "Unfortunately, the practice of working while sick - often perpetuated by corporate culture - not only results in 'presenteeism,' but in the spread of illness for an even greater reduction in productivity. Employers should encourage workers to take time off when sick, which actually will increase productivity in the long term."

The study included responses from employees at more than 700 companies.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!