Health Risks Of Presenteeism Image

Recent Research Highlights The Long Term Health Risks Of Presenteeism

Further to our recent article on presenteeism, recent research has highlighted that the long term health risks of presenteeism may be worse than originally thought.

The Health Risks Of Presenteeism

New research focusing upon the health risks of presenteeism have been released by the TUC, the University of Helsinki, Vitality Health, Holloway Friendly, and CABA.

The key findings of all of this research are:-

  • 1 in 12 workers are not taking their full statutory holiday entitlement of 28 days, according to the TUC. The sector with the most workers not taking their full entitlement in proportionate terms is agriculture with 14.9%, whilst retail has the highest number of workers not taking all of their entitlement (348,000). Women are the most likely not to take their full entitlement (9.2%), whilst 7.2% of men did not take their’s. The TUC found that the main reasons were excessive workloads which leave workers with no time to take all their holidays, and employers denying holiday requests and failing to keep up to date with legal developments.
  • 92% of workers have attended work despite being ill, according to research conducted by Holloway Friendly. The main reason for this are the fear of not being paid. Other reason include avoiding getting into trouble, and worries about falling behind with work.
  • Research by Vitality Health found that an average of 27.7 days per worker were worked whilst ill during 2017, an increase of 3.5 days compared with 2016
  • One third of workers regularly work overtime, according to research by CABA
  • Ongoing research being carried out by the University of Helsinki found that those who take less than 3 weeks holiday per annum are 37% more likely to die young. Indeed, the failure to take sufficient time off work was found to outweigh any benefits derived from a healthy lifestyle

Long Term Problems Being Stored Up

Adrian Lewis, Director at Activ Absence, states that “rising presenteeism in UK offices is a growing issue. [The Holloway report]…highlights [that] people are worried about not being paid and they don’t want to fall behind with their work, so they are coming into the office despite being ill. With the state of the UK economy uncertain with Brexit on the horizon, employees are scared to take sick days. But if they don’t get [a[ chance to recover from illnesses there will be bigger problems down the line.

Meanwhile, Professor Timo Strandberg, the person behind the University of Helsinki research, points out: “Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays….Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress….The harm caused by the intensive lifestyle regime was concentrated in a subgroup of men with shorter yearly vacation time. In our study, men with shorter vacations worked more and slept less than those who took longer vacations. This stressful lifestyle….overruled any benefit[s] from [a healthy lifestyle].

Posted in General Employment Law, occupational stress, presenteeism and tagged , , .