41% of UK workers would not tell employer about health issue, reveals survey

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16th September 2021 14:37 - Health

41% of UK workers would not tell employer about health issue: A survey or workers and employers has found that more than two-fifths (41%) of employees would not feel comfortable telling their employer about a health issue they were experiencing.

The survey of 2,000 employees and 500 business owners revealed that more than half the employees polled in a nationally representative survey (51%) said they had a health issue, disability or long-term condition. The most common issue reported by respondents was poor mental health, followed by high blood pressure and arthritis.

While many participants said they would not disclose a health issue to their employer, 36% admitted to lying to an employer about taking time off work to attend an appointment. Younger respondents were the most likely to do this, with 44% of 16-24-year-olds saying they have not been honest about taking time off for a medical condition or issue.

When asked about their apprehension over keeping employers in the loop about any health issues, 29% were concerned that it would make people think they were unable to do their job, while 27% feared they may lose their job because of it. A fifth of those polled were worried that people at the office would talk about them, while 9% said they would be worried that people would no longer want to be their friend.

Some of the people surveyed (15%) said that they believe they have been overlooked for a job in the past due to a health concern, disability or long-term condition.

The survey also spoke to employers, with alomost three in 10 (27%) saying they have concerns about being able to offer the right support to an employee who needed it due to a health concern, while almost one in five (19%) admitted that they had previously hired a person with a long-term health condition but would not do so again.

Looking at healthcare provided by employers for their staff, the survey found that more than a quarter (26%) do not offer a healthcare plan in addition to statutory allowances. 

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