The Zoomer Report: Working Sick

Here’s another reason not to go to work when you’re sick. Danish researchers say staff who repeatedly drag themselves into the office when they’re ill are much more likely to take long-term sick leave.

Previous research on British civil servants suggested that people in poor health who don’t take sick leave had double the risk of heart problems compared with their colleagues who took moderate amounts of sick leave. This time, researchers looked at data from a random sample of 12,000 Danes who were asked how many times they had to work while ill when it would have been reasonable to stay at home.

The eight per cent of people who had gone to work ill more than six times a year had a 74 per cent higher risk of needing two months off compared with their co-workers, who said they never or rarely went to work sick.

The researchers conclude short periods off sick may allow workers to cope better with the stresses of a demanding job.

Another possibility is that people who go to work when sick generally pay less attention to their health and so are more likely to get seriously ill.

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About The Zoomer Report

Libby ZnaimerLibby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.