November 4, 2008 / 5:59 AM / 10 years ago

Stay at home if you're sick even in hard times, say bosses

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Never mind the credit crunch, if you’re feeling sick then don’t come to work, with employees in the banking sector particularly reluctant to stay at home, British bosses say.

Almost three-quarters of employers said staff should stay at home if they feel ill rather than drag themselves to their desks, according to a survey of 1,000 bosses on Tuesday.

“In the current economic environment, employees may feel the need more than ever to go beyond the call of duty and work through an infectious illness,” said Chris Hannant, policy director for the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

“But this is not the way to make a positive impression.”

The BCC survey, carried out with medicine maker Benylin, found that 73 percent of bosses think employees should stay at home and recover when they fall sick, with more than four out of five believing that poorly staff are less productive.

They were also concerned about the “domino effect” where a sick employee comes to work and spreads their germs to other staff.

However a separate poll of British workers found many are worried or feel guilty about taking a day off sick, with 57 percent saying they would have to be severely ill before deciding to stay at home.

Those working in the banking sector on average took the fewest number of days off sick in the last year, followed by staff in the hotel and restaurant industry.

“Given the gap between employer and employee views, the findings suggest that there needs to be a bit more common sense about taking sick leave when you’re ill and maybe employers need to spell this out more clearly,” Hannant said.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison

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