The dreaded call to the boss may partially explain Britons' reluctance to take time off ill, with nearly half (44%) of those surveyed for family-focused insurance firm There expressing unease about phoning in sick.
More than one in four (28%) people phoning in to get a day off work admitted to putting on a "sickie voice".
Flu, stomach bugs and viruses were found to be the leading causes of missing work.
People working in leisure, culture and sport roles are more likely to be off work due to illness, while those in the manufacturing and property sectors are among the least likely, according to the findings.
One in five (19%) of the 2,000 workers surveyed said they had been made ill or had become injured as a direct result of doing their job.
Far from enjoying a "sickie", many of those who did take time off were plagued with worry. The most common concerns among those employees who took time off work due to illness were work piling up, pressure on their colleagues and feelings of guilt.
People who were self-employed said the main implications from being ill were loss of income, work piling up and losing customers.
Health workers were particularly likely to rate their boss as strict when it came to taking sick days and were also more likely to feel they were worked too hard, with too few staff. People working in media and publishing were the least likely to say their boss was strict.
Philippa McLaglen, marketing manager at There, said: "We worry about taking even one day off sick when so many of us have experienced what it's like to be laid up and not able to work."
Here are the average numbers of sick days taken off per year among the people surveyed for insurance firm There, broken down into various professions:
- Leisure, cultural and sporting activities, 3.8 days
- Agriculture, 3.7
- Research, 3.44
- Telecoms, 3.35
- Marketing (includes marketing consultancy, advertising, public relations), 3.2
- Education (includes teachers and lecturers), 3.17
- Health (includes nurses, GPs, social workers), 3.09
- Design (includes fashion, graphic design, product design), 3.05
- Media and publishing, 3.01
- Construction, 2.8
- Finance (includes banking, insurance, accountancy), 2.72
- Computing and electronics, 2.72
- Environmental services (includes sustainability, recycling, alternative energy), 2.71
- Government and public services, 2.63
- Engineering, 2.52
- Travel and tourism, 2.5
- Utilities (includes gas and electricity), 2.44
- Entertainment (includes music, film and theatre), 2.32
- Hospitality (includes accommodation, restaurants and fast food), 2.23
- Retail, 2.2
- Transport and distribution, 1.94
- Legal, 1.9
- Voluntary sector (includes charities and membership organisations), 1.87
- Property, 1.73
- Industry (includes manufacturing and heavy industry), 1.59
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