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Employees more likely to hide mental health issues

Employees are more likely to lie about an absence if the cause is mental health rather than physical health related, according to research from healthcare provider AXA.

The research found that 77% of UK workers were more likely to tell their boss the truth if their absence was due to back pain, flu or an accidental injury, but only two in five (39%) would reveal if they had to call in sick because of stress, anxiety or depression.

The findings back up findings – also by AXA Healthcare – from earlier this year, which claimed seven in ten bosses do not regard stress, anxiety or depression to be valid reasons for employees to take time off work.

The problem was worst in small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with only 37% of SME employees claiming they would tell their boss if they were absent because of mental ill health. In larger firms 44% of workers felt comfortable confiding the real reason for such an absence to their manager.

The AXA research also found that 23% of employees would not tell their line manager the real reason for any kind of illness-related absence for fear of being judged. A further 15% said they were afraid they would not be believed if they were honest about an illness.

Read AXA’s research findings from April by clicking here.