Americans Feel Pressure to Work When Sick

November 29, 2019

Vineland Workers’ Compensation lawyers advocate for workers who feel pressured to work when sick.A new survey reveals that nearly 80 percent of Americans feel that they must make it through the workday, even when they are not feeling well. Forty-two percent of survey participants said that calling in sick was a source of stress, making it less likely that they would stay home to rest and recover. The survey was conducted by OnePoll and Robitussin, the maker of cough medicines. The survey questioned 2,000 Americans about sickness in the workplace and all but 70 of them were employed.

The survey revealed that deciding to stay home when sick is a tough call for many workers. Although more than half of the survey participants would assume that a coughing co-worker is sick, almost 70 percent of them also said that having a bad cough is not a valid reason to call in sick. Additionally, 33 percent of those surveyed were afraid that their boss would not consider having a bad cough a valid reason to stay home from work.

The Changing Definition of a Sick Day

Even when a worker decides they are truly sick enough to stay home, they often end up checking email and other work-related tasks for fear of falling behind in an increasingly competitive work environment. Whereas in the past, a sick day was supposed to be devoted to rest and recovery, technology and the concept of a mobile office often leaves employees to feel obligated to be available to their colleagues.

Some companies no longer use the term sick day and instead call them personal emergency days, giving more freedom and privacy to the employee. The benefit of using broader terminology is that there is less pressure to justify staying at home with a bad cough, as many of the survey participants said they could not do.

The advent of the gig economy also means that many workers have no sick days at all and must either work or know that they will have no income that day. Low income workers are often afraid of getting fired if they call in sick too often. Even those who have generous sick day allowances often do not make use of them for fear of appearing less loyal to their employer.

Sick Days Benefit Everyone

When employees feel pressured to come to work sick, it can negatively impact an entire business. Someone who comes to work while contagious can spread an illness through coughing and sneezing. A sick worker is most likely accomplishing very little while infecting other workers. Productivity is lowered and can snowball into delays for important projects while key players are out sick.

Vineland Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Injured Workers

If you suffer from a work-related injury or illness, the Vineland Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law are here to help. We will evaluate your case to determine the maximum allowable benefits available to you. Call us at 856-414-0010 today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent injured workers throughout South Jersey, including Mt. Holly, Camden County, and Vineland.