Thousands enjoy national 'sickie' day
IF YOU are reading this story in bed, having indulged in the stolen pleasure of a "sickie", then relax: you're not alone. Today is the most popular day of the year for errant staff to concoct bizarre excuses in order to swap the tedium of the office for the languorous embrace of the sofa and a diet of day-time TV.
A new report has named Monday, 6 February as National Sickie Day, the date when more workers phone or text their boss with a fake illness than on any day of the year.
A survey of 4,000 employees revealed the reason: widespread dissatisfaction with the number of official holidays, coupled with a need to recharge batteries after the initial post-Christmas shock of being back in the office.
Hugely increased workloads also were leading to more people falling ill, although the prospect of having to wait for a Bank Holiday and a reluctance to take annual leave was persuading people to skive, the study showed.
Professor Cary Cooper, who headed the research, said: "Early February is a very popular time for taking a 'sickie', the first bank holiday still seems a long way off, the days are gloomy and many people are still feeling the post-Christmas blues. Planning your summer holiday in February will help to combat those winter blues by giving you something to look forward to later in the year."
An analysis of how "skivers" - to lend them their colloquial term - spend their day off has revealed startling differences between the major Scottish cities.
While residents of Aberdeen prefer to fritter their "sickie" in bed, tucked under the duvet, Glaswegians are the most industrious, preferring to use the time to apply for a new job. Edinburgh workers, meanwhile, are the most devil-may-care, and risk discovery by embarking on a shopping spree.
Liverpool, meanwhile, was uncovered as the "sickie" capital of Britain, with staff taking an average of 13 days off, compared to just three in London.
The Scottish research found that one in three people from Edinburgh who admitted taking a "sickie" in January did it so that they could go to the sales, while 15 per cent of Glaswegians are more likely to take one towards the end of the month when pay day is approaching.
Almost 20 per cent of Aberdonians and 45 per cent of Glaswegians are more likely to throw a "sickie" during winter so they can save their holiday entitlement for summer months.
Barbara Gibbon, general manager of Sky Travel, who commissioned the research said: "It is clear that an increasing number of employees feel completely justified in taking a cheeky day off sick. The 6th of February seems to be popular for a myriad of reasons, not least the fact that many people will be finding out that they are still in debt despite the fact that they have just been paid."
The awkward phone call to the boss, during which people admitted coughing and spluttering to add authenticity, is being replaced by the casual - and acting free - text message, while 17 per cent said they got someone else to call in sick on their behalf.
The "sickie", however, is not without its consequences. Five per cent of respondents admitted they had been caught out, with some revealing they had been spotted by their boss having a long lunch in a local restaurant with friends.
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