90% of employees say they come to work sick—here's how to fix that

Django | Getty Images

Flu season is coming, and a new survey brings bad news for workers trying to avoid the winter bug.

According to a recent report from Robert Half, 57% of employees sometimes come in to work while sick, and 33% always come in to work while sick, which means that as much as 90% of workers go to work while under the weather.

The staffing and human resources company surveyed over 2,800 workers from 28 cities across the United States and found that workers consistently choose to work while ill.

The most common reason employees gave for going to work sick: that they had too much work do to (54%), followed by not wanting to use a sick day (40%) and pressure from their employer (34%).

One-quarter of those who go to work sick said it was common for their co-workers to work while sick as well.

In the United States, there are currently no federal laws that require employers to provide paid sick leave for their employees, and sick leave laws vary from state to state.

In March, Michigan joined Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington to become the 11th state to require private employers to offer paid sick leave.

Geber86 | Getty Images

Trey Barnette, regional vice president at Robert Half, says it is concerning that so many workers feel the need to come in to work sick. He adds that the practice has the potential to negatively impact organizations' bottom lines.

"People aren't at 100% when they're coming in sick, so it's going to show within the work that they do," he tells CNBC Make It. "Also, from a monetary standpoint, if you are are coming in sick and you are contagious, you can get someone else sick. That means other people are now starting to use the benefits of the company, and that could drive up benefit premiums."

Barnette says there are several steps employers can take to set good examples for their co-workers and promote healthy workplaces.

"Employers should lead by example. If you're sick, definitely take time off," he says. "Companies are also starting to do more preventative things like having wellness clinics. Some of the clients that we work with will have an onsite flu clinic for people to get flu shots during flu season.

"But I think the biggest thing is for each company to look at their benefits and see what they can do to provide a more welcoming package for people taking sick leave."

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!

Don't miss:

Michael Horn: How to tell if your degree is worth the money
make it

Stay in the loop

Sign Up

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us