Workers throw a sickie to save their sanity - unless they live by the beach

IT'S not a sickie, it's a mental health day.

That's the belief among one third of workers who admit to faking an illness to get the day off work because they feel they are not coping.

Workers with competent bosses they respect are less likely to pull a sickie because of the guilt factor, the Galaxy poll of almost 1300 employees also found.

Almost one out of four workers who categorised their manager as a poor performer admitted to taking days off when they weren't sick purely because they hated their boss.

But the most common reason for faking illness was attributed to anxiety, with one in three workers citing too much responsibility or feeling burnt out.

Close behind was family commitment, with 27 per cent admitting to absenteeism as a way of juggling personal responsibilities and emergencies.

Overall, the majority of workers - 63 per cent - admitted to taking a sickie at some point in their lives to get the day off.

Stephanie Christopher, the national director of the workplace consultancy firm SHL which commissioned the study, said the feeling by a worker they were entitled to a mental health day was closely linked to the relationship they had with their boss.

"Ineffective management affects productivity in lots of different ways, including staff loyalty and motivation," she said.

The finding that workers who feel they have too much responsibility are more likely to take sick days which are not genuine appears to contradict research to date, which has found that workers are more likely to call in sick if they feel powerless.

But Professor Sue Richardson, the principal research fellow with the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University, has found that job status and autonomy play a crucial factor when it comes to workplace anxiety and burn out.

Consequently, there is a higher rate of work-related stress recorded among bus drivers than senior executives, she said, because although both have considerable responsibilities, bus drivers have no control over their timetable or traffic conditions. Frustration turns to anxiety, anxiety leads to burn out.

Just 12 per cent admitted they had pulled a sickie because they had something else they wanted to do. Presumably, most of them live by the sea. An auditor general's report earlier this year found that an employee's proximity to the beach had a direct correlation to the number of sick days they took in a year.

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