Which Scots are the most likely to pull a sickie?

New research reveals which Scots are most likely to bunk off work, as well as the top 10 most popular reasons for doing so.

According to Scots, the flu or diarrhoea is a more widely-accepted excuse than a headache or migraine when calling in sick to work. Picture: Michael Gillen

If you’re an Edinburgh female aged 18-24 who works in the utilities sector, you are the most likely employee to call in sick nationwide.

The Benenden research also showed that 62 per cent of Scottish women compared to 54 per cent of Scottish men called in sick. While men appear to take fewer sick days, they are more likely to tell their work they’re sick when feeling tired, under the weather or hungover (18 per cent of men compared to 12 per cent of women).

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Absenteeism also heats a peak between the ages of 25-35. This demographic is more likely (17 per cent) to have taken more than five sick days off in the last year in which at least one of those days could have been spent at work, compared to 18-24 year olds on 11 per cent and 35-44 year olds on 8 per cent. Older colleagues are the least likely to be absent with 45-54 year olds on 7 per cent and those aged 55+ on 5 per cent.

The Benenden research, which surveyed over 500 Scots, show that physical illnesses are more likely than mental conditions to lead to time off work. Photo: Benenden Healthcare Society

The survey compiled the top 10 reasons that Scots believe are acceptable for calling in sick. 510 of the 2,500 employees and employers across the UK were Scots asked about their attitudes towards absenteeism and workplace wellbeing.

Physical illness was the most widely-accepted reason for calling in sick, with 66 per cent of respondents agreeing that diarrhoea was a valid excuse. Vomiting (64 per cent) and flu (51 per cent) were also high in the order of accepted physical ailments.

Mental health issues were less likely to be seen as valid reasons for time off work. Only 17 per cent of Scots said they thought stress was an acceptable reason for a day off, with 1 per cent less believing “broader mental health issues” would be sufficient for them to get some rest away from work.

A minority of respondents (7 per cent) believed that feeling “under the weather” is a valid excuse, even when the affected person is showing no symptoms of illness. The lower agreement rates for issues relating to mental health suggests that organisations have a lot still to do in order to ensure that mental issues in the workplace as taken as seriously as physical ones.

Despite taking the largest amount of sick days in comparison to all other age groups, 34 per cent of 25-35 year olds stated that they would have taken more time off work if they had more sick pay.

Echoing the figures surrounding issues of mental health in the workplace, the study found that employers may not have their employees’ wellbeing as a top priority, with 35 per cent having to book a full day away from work to take a doctor’s appointment.

In addition, the research also found that 80 per cent of Scottish employers don’t contribute towards healthcare while 86 per cent don’t give anything towards gym memberships.

Inji Duducu, Benenden Group People Director, said: “Among the 2,500 employees questioned in the study, half believe that if their employer was more engaged with their wellbeing it would make them want to do a better job. As employers, it makes sense to talk about workplace wellbeing and take positive steps to support and maintain good employee mental and physical health.”