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2 July 2014, 06:19
Family responsibilities, job interviews and hangovers are amongst the most popular reasons for pulling a "sickie", a survey suggests.
A third of Scots workers (34%) have admitted "skiving off'' work for at least a day in the last year, a survey of 270 people by PricewaterhouseCoopers found.
Among the most popular reasons are family responsibilities (32%), interviews (28%), hangovers (26%), being bored with your job (25%), romance (20%), good weather (14%) and Mondays (10%).
While only 8% admitted to taking time off to watch sport, PwC said this figure could rise with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles this year.
"Illness" was the preferred excuse given to employers, particularly stomach problems, but other reasons have included a rash from eating strawberries, a lost dog, a wrong turn on a weekend away, and a tree blocking the driveway.
The financial impact could be as much as £26 million, PwC said.
Erika Campbell, human resources director at PwC in Scotland, said: "This should be a wake-up call for businesses, especially start-ups and SMEs - where absence can be particularly crippling.
"Employers need to use both carrot and stick. If it's very easy to call in sick, or you don't even need to call at all, then people are more likely to abuse the system.
"But if there's more of a process to follow, people are more likely to think twice about taking time off."
Team targets and flexible working could "break the cycle of people feeling that they are entitled to days off outside of their holiday allowance", she said.
She added: "It is gearing up to be quite a summer of sport for Scotland, and businesses should be aware of the potential impact this could have on their bottom line if they don't respond now.
"The combination of Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup, World Cup and Wimbledon may mean that the temptation to lie to take time off work to watch sport is too much for some.
"Companies could easily reduce the knock-on impact on their employees' productivity levels by offering flexible working or allowing them to watch key matches in the office."
Sick days still account for the majority of absence and make up 87% of the overall absence bill to UK business.
Most industries have reduced their sickness levels compared to a year ago apart from technology, chemicals and utilities companies. Retail and leisure, services sector and finance companies report the lowest levels of sickness.