A recent survey has suggested that one in five UK workers feigned an illness the last time they took a day off work as sick leave.
A poll for Aon Consulting claimed, that right across Europe there are a collective 800 million sick days taken each year with more than 20% of them in the UK.
Thousands of workers took "sickies" to look after family and friends, the Aon Consulting group said. Some workers claimed that if they had more interesting work to do this would prevent them taking days off.
The group polled 7,500 workers across Europe which included 1,005 in the UK, and found that Danes were the least likely to feign illness to get time off work.
Only 4% of Danes said they fabricated illnesses for their last day off work, compared with 21% of those workers in the UK. This cost businesses £2.5billion.
“Considering the number of people who do not admit to faking sickness," these are probably conservative figures, said Peter Abelskamp, of Aon Consulting.
"Employers would be well advised to tackle the issues of sickness and workplace absence head-on, as these seriously impact efficiency and hit their balance sheets." However, the total of 180 million sick days last year cost the UK economy £16.8bn, the business group estimated.
A recent poll by the CBI found that the average UK worker took 6.4 days off through sickness last year, the lowest number since 1987. This compares with 6.7 days in 2007, the last year surveyed.
Greengates Builders Merchants was appalled to hear how much money was lost through false sickness each year.