Samantha Downes  

Going on the sick?

Samantha Downes

Samantha Downes

Last week the FCA released some shocking figures. And no, before you ask, it’s not going to be increasing the adviser levy. Not yet anyway.

Worse, actually; the average annual number of sick days taken by staff at the FCA was 6.5 days last year.

The national average, according to the Office for National Statistics last year, was 4.3 days. So this means the regulator’s staff took two more sick days than the average British worker. 

It’s a good idea to put this into perspective, as 137m working days were lost in the UK from illness and injury in 2016 and this was the lowest rate since 1993 when it was 7.2 days.

The revelation was in the regulator’s 140-page annual report when it also revealed that it now employs 3,422 people, up over 130 from the start to the end of the year.

News like this is met with the inevitable reaction of ‘skivers’ or ‘slackers’. But there is plenty of research that for every one person who is ‘faking it’ there are at least 10 people who rock up for work when they are in no fit state to do so.

This so-called  ‘presenteeism’ has been dubbed by experts as an epidemic in itself. Many believe employer scare tactics - the ‘you are lucky enough to have a job’ mentality that has emerged from the recession - have left people scared not to turn up to work for fear of losing their job.

The irony is that they are ultimately risking losing their job and their employer money, by risking their long-term health by not resting when they are sick.

It could be these higher than average figures are down to responsible employment encouraging people to stay off work when they are sick. Most of the workers at the FCA will not be on six figure salaries, and many will have taken on their roles as civil servants with the ultimate aim of doing their bit to protect the consumer.

We are, at the end of the day, all dispensable to our employers, but not to our families.