The month your staff get sick

Is there one killer month?

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

According to reports the first Monday in February marks the day when the highest proportion of people call in sick, that's why it’s been dubbed National Sickie Day. Over the years it has been estimated that over 375,000 British workers call in sick on the day, whether that be down to real sickness or something a little more fictional.

This suggests that February might be the month to watch out for when it comes to employees calling in sick. But do the stats back this up or should employers really be concerned about other times of the year?

What the figures tell us

As an absence management software provider, we decided to put the theory to the test. After analysing all the sickness absence data put through our software we discovered that the month that most employees called in sick was actually… November.

When it comes to the day's staff take off ill Monday was by far the most popular (25% of sickness absence was logged on a Monday) and the second Monday in December was actually the most common day for sickness absence.

Surprising? Maybe not, Christmas is just around the corner, the weather is turning cold and flu season is soon to be upon us. But it just shows that our perceptions about the start the year may be a little off the mark.

The cost of absence to your business

For many businesses, absence is seen as one of those things, a pain, but one that you just have to grin and bare. But according to the CIPD, the average UK worker takes 6.3 sick days per year, and that absence could be costing the UK economy as much as £16bn. When you look at it that way it’s not such a small problem and it could be one that’s costing your business.

But how much does absence actually cost your business, and how do you record and monitor those peaks in unplanned staff leave?

The benefits of monitoring absence

Having the right monitoring systems in place and accurately recording sickness is essential for any business to be able to keep on top of absence issues, discover the true monetary cost and uncover any underlying absence trends.

We know that the workplace can be busy and it means that you’re not always aware of any potential underlying absence issues. With the correct monitoring systems in place, these patterns are easy to see, and business owners can take the most appropriate steps to support workers and reduce, or even prevent, any further unnecessary sickness. Having the data at hand can offer you that extra peace of mind.

When's your sickie month?

By analysing the employment data of hundreds of thousands of UK employees we think that National Sickie Day should fall on the second Monday in December and November is the month you should be concerned about sickness leave. However, rather than worrying about the employees in other businesses it’s better to concentrate on what’s happening in your business and discover your own sickness trends.

Want to know when your companies ‘sickie month’ is and how much absence is costing your business? Find out how BrightHR’s people management software can help