Guilt on sick days: 2 in 3 remote workers think they can only call if they have COVID
NEW YORK CITY (StudyFinds) – Fear of retaliation keeps sick Americans from taking a day off. A new study asked 2,000 American employees about the stress of being absent from work and found that 58% avoid calling for fear of being criticized by their employer.
As the COVID-19 pandemic pushes Americans to take their health more seriously than ever, half of respondents feel discouraged by their workplace from calling to take care of themselves when they feel unwell . Black and Latin women feel this more than other American women, as they are 10% more likely than white women to say they avoid sick leave for fear of being reprimanded by a boss.
Working through illness
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Theraflu, the survey reveals that 55% must give their managers a reason to call. Of this group, two in three feel their bosses never believe in their sanity.
As a result, respondents continued to work during their illness an average of three times in the past year. Almost three in five (58%) even said they force themselves to point at least unless their symptoms are so severe they can’t get out of bed.
Among Americans who can work from home (just over 1,700 respondents), 68% feel pressured to check in home rather than take a sick day – citing that they think they don’t need to. ” use a sick day only if they have COVID-19.
This pressure and the increased ability for many to work from home exacerbates societal pressures to cope, to continue working when sick. At this point, the average respondent has only called three times due to illness in the past year. Additionally, 68 percent of those polled say they will keep going and go to work to some extent because they “can’t afford” to take a sick day.
Lack of staff also contributes, as 63 percent of those surveyed feel guilty about taking a sick day because it places a burden on their colleagues.
“It’s unfortunate to see data showing that so many Americans avoid taking the time their bodies need to rest and recover when they’re sick, but that’s not surprising given the systematic barriers and stigma cultural issues associated with sick days, ”said Sameer Rabbani, Marketing Lead, Respiratory Health at GSK Consumer Healthcare, in a statement.
Can’t afford sick leave?
This tendency seems to be due to the fact that being absent during an illness is a financial constraint, with which 64% of the respondents agree.
In fact, black and Latin women interviewed said they often avoided taking time to rest and recover due to financial pressure. The results show that black women are 14% more likely and Latin women 8% more likely than white women to say that taking an unpaid sick day causes financial hardship for their family.
In addition, two in three workers often have to put the needs of their families ahead of their own health or the need for a sick day. It’s a pressure black women say they feel most dramatically, who are 10% more likely than white women to use sick days to care for someone else.
“Today more than ever, it is important to take care of yourself for your own health, as well as that of your loved ones,” adds Rabbani.
“The ability to rest and recover should be a right, not a privilege. We commissioned this research to support some of the 68 percent of employed Americans who work while they’re sick because they can’t afford to take a sick day – and to help advertise our Rest & Recover Fund , a micro-grant program designed to help reimburse approximately lost wages for 1,000 unpaid sick days.