According to CNN, although the number of unscheduled days off taken by US employees has remained relatively stable, employees are increasing taking sick days for reasons other than illness. Examples include stress or family commitments. The study's authors speculated that the 9/11 terrorist attacks have caused workers to rethink their priorities.
"I think it's a change in mentality that says the job is important ... but that I have another priority in my life and I have to fit that in," said Lori Rosen, an analyst with CCH, a Riverwoods, Illinois-based business information publisher.
Although the number of unscheduled says off hasn't increased, the costs of such days have, according to the survey. Although employers weren't asked for the reasons for the increase, speculation included rising health care insurance costs, and the trend among employers to keep payrolls lean, with just enough workers to get business done. That leaves companies less able to replace workers when they're absent, and sometimes forces employers to call in a substitute. Simple math also dictates that workers' increasing productivity results in an increased cost when they aren't around.
Some companies are recognizing this reality by offering "personal days" or allowing employees to accrue paid time off instead of adhering to the narrow definition of "sick days." This approach gives the advantage of letting employees schedule days off in advance, saving their employers the expense of last-minute arrangements.
It's the magic of the marketpace at work, that's all.