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Managers, why do you never take sick leave?

AIfop study* conducted for Malakoff Médéric Humanisin 2019 questioned employees, employees and managers on absenteeism. The survey reveals that sick leave prescribed by doctors is less and less respected, especially among executives.

Fever, cough that tears your bronchi, even gastro carbine, good reasons to stay at home? Not really, if we are to believe the survey conducted by Ifop for Malakoff Médéric Humanis. According to this study,28% of sick leave prescribed in 2019 were not respected, a figure up 5 points compared to 2018 and 9 points compared to 2016. 


The proportion is even higher among managers.They are 37% to come to work despite the prescription of their doctor. They are also 72% to declare having worked while they were sick (compared to 65% for all employees). To justify this trend, employees first mention "that it is not their habit to let go" (39%), according to the terms of the survey.


We touch here on a typically French evil: presenteeism. Coupled with a work overload, it leads employees and managers to work longer hours and sometimes to burnout. Ironically, burnout often leads to very long sick leaves. 

1 - Presenteeism affects managers even more

"We understood that you had to be strong and show your commitment to the company by being present, even if it meant trivializing the disease",ExplainKévin Dufrenoy, psychologist at the Labor Clinic. 


Staying until 8 p.m. at all costs, having lunch in front of your computer or coming to work despite having the flu are all part of the same phenomenon: presenteeism. This is even more evident among managers."There is a strong ideology among managers, a social pressure that suggests that stopping would mean letting go",pressSabrina Rouat, lecturer in Work Psychology at Lyon 2 University and specialist in the prevention of burnout. 


Absence would be tantamount to being weak or disloyal to the company. Worse, some fear being replaced, sidelined on a temporary project or simply forgotten. 

2 - Managers fear being overwhelmed on return

According to the Malakoff Médéric Humanis study,managers confess an impossibility to delegate their tasks and the fear of work overload on their return. Observations or false impressions, these analyzes reveal at least a strong pressure which weighs on the shoulders of the managers.“Coming to work while sick has an impact on health, we are much less efficient and productive, even for a small cold,believes Kevin Dufrenoy.There is therefore a risk for the employee of seeing his health deteriorate, or worse: of having an accident or becoming unwell. This logic only postpones the problem and may even lead to another work stoppage, longer than the first stoppage not taken.


As a result, the risk of burnout hovers.A disastrous outcome for the employee which tarnishes the productivity and good health of the company.



Do you want to combine performance and benevolence of your teams as well as your company? Discover the Sociacom methodology ofHappiness Performanceand contact us for more information. 


* Ifop perception study for Malakoff Médéric Humanis, carried out with a sample of 1,507 employees (collection by Internet) and 400 managers or HRDs (survey conducted by telephone) of private sector companies, from August to October 2019

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