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“Santa sickies” could cost UK plc £164m

According to the study, by Moneysupermarket Shopping, one in every 20 employees plans to call in sick at work to allow them more time for their Christmas shopping. Young workers are the worst offenders with one in ten under-20s planning to throw a “Santa sickie”.

If these predicted sickies go ahead, UK businesses stand to lose over £164m in wages paid out for work not done over the festive period.

Extended “festive lunch breaks” are also set to be an issue for employers as one in six workers plans to take more than their allocated hour in order to get all their shopping done.

The survey results also show that it is men who are more likely to throw a “Santa sickie”, with one in 16 men planning to fake man flu for extra hours at the shops. This compares with just one in 25 women.

The kings and queens of the “Santa sickie” can be found in the North West, while employees in Yorkshire are the most likely to keep working. Indeed, just one per cent of workers in Yorkshire plan to take an unscheduled day off work to go shopping.

“The research shows that Christmas shopping takes a lot of time – more time than many people feel they have, in the run up to the festive season,” comments Rob Barnes, head of Moneysupermarket Shopping. “The potential cost of the ‘Santa sickie’ to employers and to career prospects of employees is massive.”

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