‘Many going to work sick because of fears of losing pay’

A new survey by the CIPHR has found almost half of workers are going to work sick because they can’t afford not to.

Sickness at work


Many workers are not only changing jobs and taking on more hours to cover the cost of living crisis, but large numbers attend work when they should be off sick, according to new research.

The research by CIPHR based on a poll of over 1,000 workers found nearly half (46%) have felt obliged to work while ill because they can’t afford not to, with those on lower wages most likely to do so. Over half (56%) of individuals earning under £30,000, compared to 37% of those earning over £45,000, say they have attended work, despite being unwell, because they didn’t want to take the time off and have their salary docked. For employees who work at organisations that only pay in line with statutory sick pay (SSP) rules, they have to be off at least three days to qualify.

The survey also shows nearly one in three (31%) workers report working more hours or extra shifts because of rising living costs over the last few months and one in eight (12%) have taken on an additional job.

One in four (26%) men and one in five (18%) women say they’ve requested a pay rise to help offset record inflation. A further 12% (16% of men and 10% of women) have asked their employer to expand their employee benefits package, by, for example, adding a health cashback plan or an employee discounts scheme.

Other findings included that one in eight (12%) people claim to have already found alternative employment with higher wages and over double that number (27%) are considering doing the same because of cost of living increases.

Two in three people (68%) admit to feeling stressed or overwhelmed at times because of it. Women are more likely than men to say they feel this way (74% compared to 61%). Younger workers also appear to be more affected than other age groups, with 76% of 18-to-34-year-olds, compared to 57% of people over 45, saying that cost of living increases have caused them to experience stress or feel overwhelmed.

Some 70% of workers with children and 64% of workers with no children have made changes to their expenditure, as a result of rising living costs. Other decisions that people have taken in response to spiralling living costs include requesting remote working to save money on petrol or commuting costs (21%), and asking employers for help and advice or wellbeing support (18%).

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