An online poll of 2000 adults by Opinium Research for Saga Private Medical Insurance suggests that 43% of workers are embarrassed or worried about the negative effect on their career or feel paranoid when they return to work after a period of illness. Despite these fears, 29% have been off ill for more than five consecutive days in the last two years.
29% have suffered a genuine medical condition that has caused them to be off work for over a week. However, on returning to work, 25% are worried that the time off sick will reduce their promotional chances or be seen as an excuse to dismiss them or encourage early retirement. A further 15% were too embarrassed to talk to colleagues about their illness.
Those aged under 50 are 80% more likely to be concerned than older colleagues that they will be denied future career opportunities after being ill. Just under half of under 50s did not feel that the time off would affect them professionally compared to 64% of over 50s.
Saga's experience over the years with PMI customers has shown that the priority for over 50s is to return to health, and often work, as quickly as possible.
Private medical insurance: News update: June 2008