National Sickie Day: Colleagues thin on the ground? Perhaps they're at a job interview

 
Catherine Neilan
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You think your colleague is under the duvet - they might be at an interview (Source: Getty)
Is your office looking a little quiet? Colleagues thin on the ground? It could be because today is National Sickie Day, the day recruiters and employment experts say has the highest absenteeism of the whole year.
In total around 350,000 people are expected to call in sick today.
Often it's because people are too ill or just too gloomy about the weather to come in. This year there is the added possibility it could be a hangover as people celebrated the end of Dry January yesterday.
But, as the economy begins to rally and people feel more confident about the future, one of the main reasons being cited this time around is attending a job interview.
Hyper Recruitment Solutions – the search firm run by The Apprentice winner Ricky Martin – claims that a quarter of February's job interviews will take place today.
On average a fifth more interviews take place in the first week of this month than any other week of the year.
Martin told the Telegraph: "A lot of candidates tend to think about their future over Christmas, spend January considering their next move and then start interviewing in February.
“Legally, employees are entitled to take time off legitimately to go for an interview – but in reality most keep it secret from their current employer.”
Martin added that it wasn't recommended – noting that employees could be in breach of their employment contract in so doing.
“However, the data does seem to suggest that a lot of people use the day to look for their next job – it's a trend that’s developed over the past few years and we don’t see any sign of it abating.”
Business advisers have in the past estimated that this one day could cost the economy as much as £34m in salary, reduced productivity and lost opportunities.

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