A new survey reveals men take 140 days off sick during their working lives, compared to 189 for women
Women take more time off work due to ill health than men, according to a new report from the Benenden Healthcare Society
Men take five months off sick during their working careers, compared to seven months for women, with stomach bugs, dizziness and viruses the most common culprits.
But whilst women take more time off, they are also more likely to ‘try their hardest to make it to their desk.’ They also report feeling guilty if they cannot make it into the office and therefore increase the workload of colleagues.
However, men are more likely to be spoken to by their boss due to a poor track record.
The study questioned 1000 men and 1000 women on their attitudes and behaviours with regard to being ill and having to take time off work.
According to the study, the average adult takes three and a half days off work a year due to illness, equal to 141 during their working life. This breaks down to 140 for men and 189 for women.
When it comes to dedication to work, men fare far worse than women. Four in ten men admit to calling in sick as soon as they feel ill, while a quarter has been called up by their boss. Men are also more likely to take the easy route and text or email their manager, rather than phone in.
Eight in ten men said they try their best to make it into work, compared to nine in ten women. A further four in ten feel guilty leaving their colleagues in the lurch, and half worry about workloads when ill at home.
Comparatively, three in ten women will phone in sick as soon as they feel ill. And fewer than one in five have had to be called in by their boss regarding sick leave. Female workers are also more likely to use the phone to let their employer they are under the weather.
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 principal 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."