The overwhelming majority of workers (91%) in the catering sector would go to work stressed, while almost half would go to work with a migraine due to fears over job security, research revealed today.
A survey of more than 1,200 employees, by healthcare provider HSA, also showed 17% would rather go to work with diarrhoea than take a day off sick.
Almost a third (32%) of respondents said they are encouraged or expected to pick up light duties or perform basic tasks while off sick, while 28% claimed their employer pressurises them into returning to work as soon as possible.
Richard Halley, HSA's head of sales, said: "By continuing to work through illness at any cost, employees are taking the risk of creating a health epidemic at work, feeding a vicious cycle of perpetual illness by infecting more and more employees.
"It is especially worrying that so many catering workers would be willing to go to work with diarrhoea, as this could put the general public at risk also."
Professor Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at Lancaster University Management School, added: "The findings demonstrate that employees are suffering the classic symptoms of ‘presenteeism'.
"This is counterproductive because a sick employee isn't a productive employee and invariably he or she will make wrong decisions which someone else will have to rectify later on."
By Daniel Thomas
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