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Know anyone who called in sick last month?
While absences due to illness or injury tend to spike from December through March, the call-ins last month were the highest than in any month in the last five years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nearly 2.9 million people who usually work full time worked only part of the week studied by the bureau either because of their own illness, injury or a medical appointment. An additional 1.2 million didn’t work at all during the period, the bureau reported.
The last time the numbers were that high was in February 2008, when 3.3 million people who usually work full time worked part time because of their own illness, injury, or medical appointment and 1.3 million employed people did not work at all during the survey reference week because of illness or injury, the bureau said in its report.
It doesn’t help that this year’s flu vaccine has not been as effective as health officials had hoped. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the vaccine’s overall effectiveness for everyone over age 6 months is only 56 percent, instead of the 62 percent projected. For individuals ages 18 to 64 the effectiveness is 46 percent to 50 percent, but it drops to 9 percent for those 65 and older.
Of course, some people fake it. A 2011 study by Careerbuilder.com found that nearly three in 10 workers feigned an illness to get the day off.
Many, however, would say it’s a good thing absences are up if the illnesses are legit. Who wants a co-worker around who’s coughing and sneezing his or her head off?