Press Centre


Those in their twenties are three times as likely to take a sick day as their colleagues who are over fifty years of age, according to a new survey. 

The research by superstore Asda shows that 27 years of age – the average age of a UK homeowner – is the tipping point when the amount of sick days being taken starts to decrease, perhaps in response to a change in priorities and life responsibilities. 

Of those surveyed, 42 per cent of people who “pulled a sicky” were more likely to blame unhappiness rather than hangovers as the real reason for their absence from work.  


Other reasons for taking sick days included splitting up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a pet and having to take your car for regular maintenance.   


The dark winter months and the cricket season were also popular for taking unauthorised time off from work.   

Older workers also proved less likely to take time off for the common cold or flu – shattering the preconceived image of age and sickness being interlinked.  In fact, workers who are older than 60 are the least likely to take a sick day. 

Kirsty Leyland, Asda’s head of colleague relations said, “A happy workforce is a productive workforce, and this ethos helps cut absenteeism.  Surprisingly, hangovers are not as common a reason for a sick day as everyone thinks!   

“At Asda, we strive to ensure we have happy colleagues with a great benefits package and flexible working policies to suit our colleagues’ needs. 


"For example, hundreds of people have taken advantage of our ‘German Jolly’ World Cup Leave over the last month, which gave colleagues the chance to take up to two weeks’ unpaid leave to enjoy the footy.


“We’ve always found that happy colleagues means happy customers are they’re the best-equipped to give the helpful, friendly service that our customers love and have come to expect at our stores.”  

ASDA has a wide range of flexible working policies that help cut the number of days off sick that colleagues take which are not genuinely illness-related. 

If your car breaks down or if you have your kids’ sports day or school play coming up, ASDA operates ‘shift swaps’ to give added flexibility around your working hours, plus colleagues can take a half day holiday to hold their child's hand on their first day at school or ask for extended leave during school summer holidays.

Posted in Press Centre on 01 August 2006