Friday, 25 November 2016

The Lazy Man Of Europe

When I was a younger man Britain was described as a lazy, strike prone nation, whose workers were all taking a 'sickie', and the whole group of economic symptoms was often called by foreign observers and economists "The British Disease". In fact so inculcated were we with this view, that we even took to using the term ourselves. Mrs Thatcher even famously stated that "to cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches"  

Famous Economists Offered Cures For The British Disease ...

On top of this, we have had a very poor productivity (the amount produced by our workers in a set period e.g. an hour), record, which no amount of government policy has been able to reverse.

So its perhaps no surprise that my eye was taken by a small story claiming that productivity aside, British workers are amongst the least likely these days to pull a sickie without genuine cause. Apparently in the last 12 months only 29 per cent of us 'faked it'. 

The French Patient .... Pulls More Sickies.

This compared with 58 per cent of our dear neighbours the French, who despite their lower working hours (35 hrs), earlier retirements (age 62), and more comprehensive health cover (if your working), still felt the need to take days off when not sick.

Back in the UK 38 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men admitted to faking an illness (the difference being accounted for as probably the need for emergency home child care). However what made this interesting was that most of the respondents were in the 18-34 age group.

The full list was as follows:
  1. France (58%) 
  2. Germany (49%) 
  3. Belgium (40%) 
  4. Spain (35%) 
  5. Italy (32%) 
  6. Ireland (31%) 
  7. UK (29%) 
  8. Denmark (17%) 
  9. Sweden (15%) 
  10. Holland (11%)

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