Women call in sick more often, but men skip work as soon as they start feeling ill
Pull the other one: Women call in sick more often, but men are more likely to skip work as soon as they start feeling ill
1:34 PM on 24th May 2011
Men are often accused of exaggerating how serious their “man flu” is. But a new study, that found that women pull more sickies, goes some way towards vindicating them.
The average man fails to make it to the office for a total of 140 days during their career, while women phone in sick 189 times.
However, it is not all good news for male colleagues – the same study found they were less likely to go into work as soon as they start to suffer from minor illnesses.
Holed-up at home: Women pull more sickies over their lifetimes – but they are more likely to go into work when they are a little ill
The study, conducted by Benenden Healthcare Society found women are more likely to “try their hardest to make it to their desk” and “feel guilty” if they succumb to illness.
It is perhaps for this reason that male employees are called up by their bosses more often because of their poor track record.
Stomachbugs, dizziness and viruses are the most common ailments which strike down the British workforce – who take an average of three sick days a year.
Lawrence Christensen, from the mutual healthcare organisation, said: “The age-old debate between the sexes continues as our research shows a difference between them when it comes to taking sick leave.
“While men are less likely to shake off the man flu and go to work, women do end up taking more sick days across their careers.
“Theymight succumb to illness more easily, but women come out on top when itcomes to dedication to work. Many men will pick up the phone as soon asthey feel a little under the weather, whilst women soldier on for longer.
“However, in all cases, there seems to be a great pressure to battle on and make it into work.
Battling through: Men take an average of 140 sick days over their lifetimes, women take 189
“Thisis perhaps even more relevant considering the current weakness of the economy – are British workers being frowned upon if they take sick leave Would employers rather their staff place their colleagues at riskof infection and illness
The representative study of 1,000 men and 1,000 women quizzed them on their attitudes and behaviours towards feeling ill, having to take time off work and drew gender comparisons.
It found the average adult takes three and a half days off work a year because of illness – or 141 during their working life – with men taking 140 and women, 189.
Four in ten men admitted to calling in sick the moment they feel ill, a quarter have been called up by their boss and they”re more likely to take the easy route out and text or email their manager.
Eight in ten said they try their best to make it into work, compared to nine in ten women, four in ten feel guilty leaving their colleagues in the lurch and just half worry about workloads when they”re tucked up in bed.
On the other hand, just three in ten female workers ring in the second they start sniffling.
Men pull an average of 140 sick days over their working life, women call in sick 189 times34 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women call in sick the moment they feel85 per cent of men and 91 per cent of women try their hardest to get into work despite feeling ill 85% 91%
61 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women feel like they are unable to take time off work25 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women have been called up by their boss to check that they are really ill28 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women feel guilty ringing in sick54 per cent of men and 63 per cent of women worry about their workload when they are off work
21 per cent of men and 26 per cent of women have faked an illness to take aday off work46 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women have been to the doctors in last year
The average man spends 11 minutes a day moaning about beaing ill, the average women moans for 16 minutes a day
Fewer than in one five have ever had a talking to by their boss abouttheir sick leave and they will pick up the phone when they have to let others know they won”t be in.
Two thirds are left feeling guilty if they have to let their boss know they”re staying at home, while just athird of men said the same.
Seventy per cent feel like they are unable to take any time off work, compared to six in ten men who admit to the same pressure.
They have also sat at their desk on at least eight occasions in the last year when they knew they should be at home resting, compared to six for men.
The report also revealed men will ring in sick for more minor “illnesses” such as hayfever, sore throat and headache, while women stay in bed with symptoms such as vomiting, flu and high temperature.
It also emerged that 37 per cent of Brits would prefer colleagues to stay at home if they are ill, rather than try and soldier on or moan about it in the workplace.
And the typical adult feels 100 per cent well just half of the time.
Yesterday, Dr Tony Williams Consultant Occupational Physician at Benenden Hospital commented on the results: “Everyone who goes off sick does so for a reason, but the reason is not always related to disease or illness.
“Women are usually the principle carer for children and if a child is sick they may take time off “sick” to look after the child.
“If managers do more to find out why employees were off sick they may be able to come up with alternative solutions and support mechanisms that can help reduce overall sickness absence. Working from home can often be an answer.
“The fitter people are the less sickness absence they have. Obese people have four days more sickness per year, but many women of normal weight are still physically unfit and more likely to have sickness absence.
“Businesses that focus on physical fitness and health of their staff through opportunities for healthy eating and exercise will reduce sickness absence substantially.”