Younger workers more likely to 'fake a sickie', says new national poll

December 17, 2014 by Louise Bennet, University of Melbourne

As many as 39 percent of workers aged 18-24 and 43 percent aged 25-34 admitted to faking a sick day in the past 12 months, according to an online poll of 1,035 Australian workers.

Conducted by the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne, the Future of Work Poll measured how employed Australians view their work, asking questions like which employees are more likely to fake a sick day and who is more likely to look forward to their Monday mornings.

Director of the Centre, Professor Peter Gahan, said the poll produced fascinating results that have implications for managers across the country.

"The people less likely to fake a sick day were over 45 years old or in executive and senior management positions. These more senior employees were also more likely to look forward to returning to work after their weekend," Prof Gahan said.

The poll also found that full-time workers were more motivated to fake a sickie than part-time workers, and otherwise less positive about going to work on Monday.

"The results show that if you take a sickie, you're less likely to look forward to going to work on a Monday," says Professor Gahan. "This may imply that people who take 'mental health days' do so because they feel disgruntled at work, and that those who work part-time are more enthusiastic about returning to work."

Interestingly, while workplace leaders look forward to , their employees do not. Only nineteen percent of senior and executive managers suffered 'Monday-itis', in contrast to 42 percent of total .

"There are also warning bells for middle managers," Prof Gahan said.

"Thirty-six percent of middle admit to faking a sick day in the past twelve months and forty-seven percent believe that their counterparts are being paid more than they are."

A future , examining small and medium businesses will be released in February in the lead up to the Future of Work 2015 conference in April.

Explore further: Most Australian workers lack faith in their boss

More information: For more information:

Related Stories

Most Australian workers lack faith in their boss

February 20, 2014

Australian workers believe their workplaces suffer from poor leadership and need better management, according to a survey into workplace management by the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne. 

Trouble with your boss? Own it

November 21, 2014

Don't get along with your boss? Your job performance may actually improve if the two of you can come to grips with the poor relationship.

Lack of sick leave creates tough choices for rural workers

July 11, 2011

Rural workers have less access to sick leave, forcing them to choose between caring for themselves or family members, and losing pay or perhaps even their jobs when faced with an illness, according to new research from the ...

Working from home increases productivity

October 31, 2013

( —Employees who work from home one to three days per week called 'hybrid teleworkers', are more productive than workers who do none, according to a new study undertaken by the Institute for a Broadband Enabled ...

Workplace depression - it's catching

December 2, 2014

Professor Jarrod Haar, from Massey University's School of Management, says the research is the first to explore the emotional crossover process in the workplace.

Recommended for you

Frog choruses inspire wireless sensor networks

January 21, 2019

If you've ever camped by a pond, you know frogs make a racket at night; but what you might not know is how functional and regulated their choruses really are. Frogs communicate with sound, and amid their ruckus is an internally ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.