As office workers across the country struggle to rediscover motivation after a luxurious long weekend, a study from the CBI and AXA has shown that bosses believe 12 per cent of the sick leave taken by staff last year was faked.
Employers attribute one in eight days off to workers 'pulling a sickie', the study showed, resulting in 21 million supposedly falsely claimed days off last year.
In 2006, each employee took an average of seven days off sick, amounting to 175 million lost working days countrywide.
More than half the employers questioned said they had noticed staff taking Mondays or Fridays off for sick leave, thereby availing themselves of a longer weekend, while 68 per cent noticed a correlation between suspect sick days and holiday periods.
Trade union bosses responded forcefully, insisting that the vast majority of sick leave is legitimately taken.
Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the CBI, hastened to stress that "employers understand that most absence is genuine".
While workplaces in Greater London lost only 5.8 days in 2006, workplaces in the north-west lost 8.8 days per employee last year.
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