Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flexible Hours 'A Cure for Sickies'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Flexible Hours 'A Cure for Sickies'

Article excerpt

We've all done it, haven't we? Felt rough after a heavy night out, or simply needed to get something else done and known your boss wouldn't let you out of work.

But according to a new survey, employers could avoid many "sickies" just by being a little more flexible with their workers.

According to the report, a third of people in the North-East think it is acceptable to fake illness to get time off work and nearly two-thirds have considered `sickies' because they are hungover.

And it's a serious problem - unauthorised sickness costs British business an estimated pounds 11bn a year - much of which is avoidable, say unions, if firms try to strike a better work/home balance for their staff.

Shoppers in Newcastle yesterday, backing the survey's findings, shared the funniest excuses they had heard for sickness.

Teacher Chris Leishman said: "One person I worked with said he had just got a budgie and when he let it out of the cage at night, it landed on his alarm clock and turned it off.

"The same person missed an afternoon shift about six months later.

"He said he'd just bought a Doberman, and when he went to Asda the dog wouldn't let him back in the car because it didn't recognise him."

Mr Leishman's wife Kim, who works in a mobile phone shop, had no time for people who take `sickies'.

She said: "It's not fair on everyone else if I stay off because somebody else would just have to do my work."

Their daughter Michelle, a student who works part-time in a bar in Sunderland, has inherited her parents' work ethic - but for a different reason.

She said: "I can't afford to miss work so I always go in."

Alison Rowlands, from Newcastle, said: "I've never taken a sickie myself, but I know people who have.

"If people could fit their life around work a bit better, they wouldn't be so tempted to skive."

Isabella Pearson, a student from Gosforth who works part-time in a newsagent, said: "I've only taken one day off. …

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