A new survey conducted by Softworks has found that more than half of respondents (55%) believe that it’s too easy for employees to obtain a doctor’s sick/fit note. The survey, titled “Pulling a Sickie – have rates and reasons for employee absences changed since the pandemic,” aimed to determine whether the rates of non-genuine absences have increased or decreased since the pandemic began, and whether more flexible working options have had a positive impact on absence rates. The survey, which was conducted by 482 professionals in HR, finance, IT, operations, and general management in February/March 2023, found that 75% of respondents believe that non-genuine absences are causing issues in the workplace.
The survey also found that just under three-quarters (73%) of respondents believe that doctors are providing sick/fit notes for longer than necessary, and 59% believe that unscheduled absences have increased. Additionally, 34% of respondents believe that presenteeism has increased.
Softworks CMO, Mairead Walsh, stated that the results in relation to doctors’ sick notes were surprising and suggested that businesses may need to focus on early intervention, well-being programmes, and ongoing two-way communication with employees. She added that early recognition, effective assessment, and rapid intervention can prevent absences from becoming long-term and sustained problems.
The full survey findings and analysis paper can be downloaded via this link.
This survey has raised concerns about the ease of obtaining a doctor’s sick/fit note, as well as the length of time for which doctors are providing them. Many believe that non-genuine absences are causing problems in the workplace, and unscheduled absences are on the rise. While more flexible working options have been implemented in some workplaces, presenteeism remains an issue for many employees.
Softworks CMO, Mairead Walsh, suggests that early intervention, well-being programmes, and ongoing communication with employees could help to reduce the rates of non-genuine absences and prevent absences from becoming long-term and sustained problems.
The findings of this survey provide valuable insight into the current state of employee absence rates and highlight the need for better communication between workplaces and medical practitioners. It is important for businesses to address the issues raised in this survey to create a healthier and more productive workplace for all employees.