Twenty six percent Americans admit going to work even when they're ill due to work overload and absence of paid sick leaves, according to a new survey.
Gone are those days when people called in sick to stay away from work. Nowadays, even when people are looking green and popping cough drops, they attend office. According to a new survey from the public health company, NSF International, 26 percent Americans admitted going to work even when they were sick. Additionally, 33 percent respondents of the survey admitted that they waited till the symptoms of their illness were full blown before they took off sick.
The findings represent data of a telephone survey conducted on behalf of NSF international on a sample of 1,003 adults, 502 of whom were men. All participants of the survey were above the age of 18 years.
The researchers found many reasons why sick Americans went to work - work overload and absence of paid sick leaves being the top two. Forty two percent said that they came to work even when ill because they had deadlines to meet and work to complete. Taking even a day's leave meant work overload when they returned.
Another 37 percent said that they couldn't afford to take any sick leaves due to loss of pay. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. department of Labor, there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave. Therefore, employers are not compelled to provide employees with such leaves. This has now become a public health issue which incentivizes ill workers to show up for work or send a sick child to school, increasing the risk of spreading disease, according to a report for the National Partnership for Women & Families.
Other reasons why Americans come to work even when sick include:
- 25 percent said they work even when sick because their boss expects them to attend office, no matter what.
- 33 percent men are more likely to work through their sickness compared to 17 percent women.
- 13 percent Americans admitted coming to work even when ill because they felt their co-workers won't be able to do the job in their absence.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly four in 10 private-sector workers don't enjoy paid sick-leave benefits. Businesses remain pretty divided on their opinion on whether sick leave policies should be made mandatory or not.
"When you're hiring part-time retail individuals, it's hard to cultivate a culture where they're really loyal," one employer told The Wall Street Journal earlier this year. "If someone says they're sick, are they really sick? Hopefully you get the right behavior."
Co-Workers' Reaction To Sick People Coming In To Work
Surprisingly, many workers have a positive outlook toward their co-workers coming in to work even when they're not well. 98 percent of the survey participants admitted that they judge their colleagues who come in to work sick, among which 67 percent said they considered such people to be hard workers. Only 16 percent felt that such people were selfish and had no regard for their co-workers.
Fifty seven percent said they would recommend their co-worker to go home if he/she were sick. Another 26 percent said they would request their ill co-worker not to enter their workspace and 36 percent said they wouldn't shake hands with a sick co-worker.
Women (74 percent) are more likely than men (65 percent) to say something to a sick co-worker when they come to work. Most notably, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of women are more likely to tell their sick co-worker to go home compared to half (53 percent) of their male counterparts, according to a survey report.
"While the inclination might be to power through an illness and go to work when you're starting to feel run down, the best thing to do is stay home," the group said, according to Huffington Post. "Going to work not only puts your co-workers at risk of getting sick, but may further strain your immune system."
As necessary as it may seem to go to work when unwell, Dr. Jennifer Shu, CNNHealth's Living Well expert doctor recommends calling in sick and staying home for several reasons. Less productivity, risk of spreading diseases and longer recovery time are some of them.