Why is the very private subject of sickness such an overtly public concern? Could it be that our nation is developing a level of care and concern for their fellow human, hitherto unheard of in recent decades? Not a bit of it; the issue is actually one of rivalry and blame culture thinking.
One great mainstay of media and public comment, especially during these times of national financial concern and worry, is that of sickness and in particular, how many working days are actually lost due to illness per year. As recently revealed; “Sick days taken by UK workers has fallen”.
The average UK worker took 6.4 days off through sickness last year, the lowest number since 1987, a survey by the CBI suggests. (BBC News).
Apparently a CBI/Pfizer ‘think tank’ survey says; the total of 180 million sick days last year cost the UK economy £16.8bn. According to the survey it is estimated that about 15% of the total number of sick days were not actually due to genuine illness. Little surprise there and, that’s just amongst the private sector workers!
The CBI continued with its bashing by intimating that; if the public sector reduced its average 8.3 days per person per year to nearer that of the private sector average of 5.3 days, it would save the country something like £5.5bn in five years. I agree that the calculations probably stack up however; the CBI, the media and public opinion in general always appear to miss the point…
Irrespective of which sector (probably similar in both), it’s the 15% who fail to turn into work. The ones who, because of a hangover, a shopping day or simply because they can’t be arsed, are actually the ones that are stuffing the economy. They are also stuffing the system for those who are actually poorly but that’s a proct of our self centered society!
It would be interesting to compare both sectors to see where the contrived illnesses actually appear, for instance; how many ‘sickies’ occur on a Monday morning after a weekend on the piss? How many employers would actually prefer that employees came to work coughed all over their colleagues and caused three people, instead of one, to be absent the following week?
The real issue here is one of personal pride, honesty and individuals withdrawing from the social acceptance of something which has become the norm. After all, so many people these days talk about being ‘entitled’ to “20 days annual leave and 8 sick days per year”. There is a general acceptance that ‘sickies’ are actually part of personal holidays. It doesn’t really matter how ‘robust’ an employer’s sickness policy may be when trying to deal with that type of mentality.
The constant animosity between the ‘opposing’ sectors is simply a blame culture smoke screen, one that is designed to cover up personal failings in our society! The only real result is; people who are genuinely ill become too frightened to go sick because they fear for what might happen to their job. Employers ‘robust’ policies and action plans are often the cause of increased stress levels, they help to spread germs and disease and subsequently present a totally negative impact upon the overall health and welfare of the workforce.
Hardly strange I suppose when you consider; many of these policies are developed and implemented by HR managers that couldn’t manage a piss up in a brewery and, are no more man (woman) managers than the man (woman) in the moon…
Mustn’t forget to be PC 🙂