Monday 5th February is known as ‘National Sickie Day,’ when more employees around the UK are expected to phone in sick than any other day of the year.

Employment law experts the ELAS Group first identified this day in 2011, when it estimated up to 350,000 would call in sick on the first Monday in February, however, they now say it is officially no longer a threat to employers.

Instead, the ELAS Group’s latest statistics[i] show increased absence rates on Mondays throughout the year, peaking in January, November and December. The firm also found that absence rates on Mondays are almost DOUBLE figures recorded on Fridays (23.5% compared to 13.2%), according to a survey of 9,700 employees at 81 companies across the UK.

This latest research highlights the importance of monitoring and management of absence rates all year round.

Dealing with sickness absence is part and parcel of running a business, but it can be really difficult for companies to know if people are lying or if they are genuinely sick. This research highlights the need for employers to look out for trends, such as more people calling in sick on Mondays or patterns which might suggest underlying health issues such as stress.

Companies need systems and policies in place for tracking and dealing with absence. Investing in absence management software is one solution that can really help companies monitor trends and keep on top of absence rates.

Recording absence properly will enable mangers to identify ongoing health issues and offer appropriate support. Additionally, the process of formally recording absence will act as a deterrent to anyone taking a sickie as people know that it will be recorded and followed up with a back to work interview.

Another trend for employers to watch out for is managers expecting people to work even if they are off sick.

Recent research by mouth spray company, ColdZyme[ii] highlighted that four in 10 people who have taken time off ill have ended up replying to emails, talking to colleagues and even taking work-related phone calls.

The research also found that one in four people said their boss expects them to still work through a sick day, and more than a third admitted their manager has asked them to pick things up despite being ill.