HUFFINGTON POST
11/13/2012 03:53 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2012

Sick Days: Most Workers Come To Work When They're Sick, Contagious According To Survey

Beware: there is a very good chance that your coworker is sick and may even be contagious.

Close to 80 percent of office workers show up to work even when they know they are sick, according to an online poll by Staples of 150 office workers and 100 facility managers. That figure is up 20 percent since last year.

Even worse: More than two-thirds of workers admit to returning to work when they're contagious. More than 25 percent of workers said they come to work to avoid taking a sick day while nearly half said they were concerned that they wouldn’t get the job done if they stayed home.

Sick days seem to have fallen victim to the recession. According to data released by Bloomberg earlier this year, the rate at which Americans are taking sick days has fallen by half since the recession hit in 2006.

A study conducted in Sweden found that employees often go to work when they're sick to avoid being viewed as fragile or unreliable by their coworkers.

A recent survey found that 51 percent of doctors worked with flu-like symptoms in the past year. Another 16 percent admitted to working while sick at least three times over the course of the year.

With flu season well underway, five out of 20 Americans get the flu each year, the Week reports. Americans missed 70 million days of work in 2011 because to the flu, which cost the U.S. economy $87.1 billion.

Shockingly, nearly 40 percent of private-sector workers don’t received paid sick days and the U.S. is the only developed country that does not guarantee paid sick leave, according to the Center For American Progress. Close to one quarter of adult workers say they’ve been threatened with termination or fired for taking time off for being sick or taking care of a sick family member.

Washing your hands, disinfecting your computer regularly and eating healthy foods are among the best defenses against getting sick at work, according to Yahoo.

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