Well this seems to be the theme of the moment… day off today because I had to work Saturday, and I’m only blimmin’ well getting uptight about articles in the paper, aren’t I? This probably won’t do me any favours, but here it is:
I am perplexed that David Brindle states that “there is a fine line between taking a close managerial interest in sick leave and forcing staff to work when they should not” (Society Guardian 13th July), but chooses to use figures from the private sector as a benchmark.
I work in a culture which has more in common with the public sector, but most of my friends do not – and are routinely at work when they should be off sick. In some cases this is because of an outright bullying macho culture which sees days off (whether as leave or sickness) as weakness. This attitude is encouraged by recent adverts for cold relief drugs which seem to intimate that if people have a day off sick, someone else will have been given their job when they go back to work.
Short term absences have to be weighed up against what workers actually experience in the workplace, and whether this is reasonable. My feeling is that increasingly in the UK it is not, and that clamping down on “malingerers” is just another way of extracting as much work out of us as possible, no matter what the long term costs in terms of physical and mental health.
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