Game of Hooky Played Around the World

Guest blog post by Colleen Daigle, Product Marketing Manager at Kronos, Inc.

When it comes to employees “faking” sick days, the United States is not alone. According to a recent Global Absence Survey released by Kronos Workforce Institute and Harris Interactive, China leads the pack with 71% of workers admitting to “calling in sick” when they were not actually sick. In fact, the study showed that respondents from countries with more paid leave, like France, were less likely to fake a sick day (16%) than countries with fewer holiday allowances, such as China (71%) and India (62%).

This survey, which has stirred substantial media coverage since its release at the end of August, reveals that employees in Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S., have all, to varying degrees, played hooky. The majority of respondents in all regions felt they were negatively impacted when co-workers called in sick – mainly because they had to take on extra work and/or shifts. Interestingly, when asked what their employer could do to prevent them from calling in sick, the main response in every region except France, who offers a minimum of 30 holidays per year, was to offer the opportunity to work flexible hours.

Can we all learn something from the results in France? As one of the world’s leading countries in state mandated leave, this study shows, only 16% of French respondents claimed to have taken a sick day when they were not sick. According to Joyce Maroney, Director of the Kronos Workforce Institute, if you”contrast this with India and China, two of the three countries with the lowest holiday allowance minimums” we start to see a correlation. Countries with more paid time off are less likely to call in sick under false pretense.

With unscheduled absenteeism costing organizations 8.7 percent of payroll, is the answer to offer employees more paid time off and flex hours?  This idea of flextime, or the ability for employee to set their own schedules, is not new, but is gaining momentum throughout the world. Does your company offer flexible work schedules and plenty of paid-time off for its employees? What impact do you think this has on a company’s incidental, or unplanned, absences?

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