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National Sickie Day

National Sickie Day: MD of Talent FM, Nikki Dallas, reveals worst sickie excuses

Employers; you may have already received that dreaded phone call from a hoarse voiced employee that cannot make it in today, with today marking National Sickie Day.

An estimated 375,000 British workers call in sick on the first Monday of February, and sometimes the sore throat disguise isn’t enough to convince their manager that they need a day off, encouraging more ‘creative’ excuses.

Nikki Dallas, Managing Director of Talent FM, recalls some rather unusual reasons staff have given to being off work: “I once had an employee who called in sick five times, on five separate occasions because his grandfather had died, again.

“As an MD, it’s interesting to monitor sickness patterns – I know of somebody who was sick nine out of 11 Mondays. Obviously a bad case of Mondayitous.”

Although the above examples are extreme – the recruitment industry knows all too well how it feels to need a break, with its lack of work-life balance, long hours and short lunch breaks.

According to data from, recruiters were amongst the professions that only take a 14-minute lunch break.

Reasons participants gave for not taking their full hour included trying to please their boss, heavy workloads, feeling pressure from other colleagues who skip their breaks, having nowhere to go or finding an hour just too long.

Katy Tanner, Director at Robert Half UK, sheds light on how businesses can address any issues contributing to workplace absence. “On National Sickie Day, offices across the UK might be quieter than usual, with many employees phoning in sick and staying at home. Some will be genuinely ill and need rest, others will decide to skip work in favour of an extended weekend as the cold winter days and limited sunlight takes its toll. While absenteeism is a serious issue, today should serve as a reminder for businesses to look deeper and identify the underlying cause of why employees don’t want to come into work. In many cases, this is down to staff feeling disengaged and demotivated. 

Employees who are burned out or frustrated are far more prone to skipping work, whereas engaged and happy employees are much more committed, healthy and productive. This, in turn, has a direct impact on the bottom line. Companies are increasingly recognising the positive impact an engaged and motivated workforce can have on their business. With January often taking its toll on staff motivation and happiness, National Sickie Day should be an opportunity for businesses to re-engage with their employees and re-evaluate the benefits, support and training they provide to their staff.”