£13 billion – the cost of absenteeism during the World Cup

Commencing in mid-June this summer, people in the UK will be able to forget the inevitably disappointing weather outside and concentrate instead on matters much further afield – the finals of the World Cup in Russia.

For many people, it seems that during the finals that they’ll be able to forget about work as well – that’s according to a survey carried out by tipster site FootballTips.

The site also estimates that absenteeism from the UK workplace with cost the economy a staggering £13 billion.

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The survey asked 2,203 UK-based adults how much time they will take off during the World Cup Finals, and, according to the answers, the average figure will be seven days.

That seems fair enough – what an employee wants to do with their annual leave is up to them, after all – but those surveyed also admitted that of those days, four of them are likely to be unauthorised.

You can’t really imagine that someone wanting to pull a sickie from work would be as dumb as to take a duvet day on the same day England are in action (or the day after if too much alcoholic spirit has been imbibed), but – astonishingly – only 41% of those questioned admitted that they have gotten in trouble for pulling a sickie.

You may ask yourself how the survey managed to arrive at that £13 billion figure. Well, if we take 2014 Finals, then 44.5 million people in the UK kept close tabs on the tournament.

Of those, 43% were in full time employment, giving a total World Cup viewing workforce of 19,135,000.

If we take the average hourly wage as being £13.94, as it was in 2017, and total up those average seven days of an average seven hours, we get seven multiplied by seven multiplied by £13.94, which works out at £683.96 lost per employee. Multiply that by the workforce of 19,135,000 mentioned above and we arrive at a grand total of £13,070,353,100 – ouch!

“The World Cup is of course a hugely important time for many of us living in the UK, even though England usually do terribly,” said patriotic spokesman for FootballTips.com, Tom Rooney.

“It is surprising how many people plan to take time off to watch the games, especially as over half of this time is likely to be unauthorised. If you do plan to pull a sickie instead of going to work, at least avoid posting anything on social media!”

If you’re thinking of pulling a sickie to watch the odd game then you may want to follow those with experience in this field and use one of their excuses.

“Got an appointment with the doctors” is the most used ‘white lie’ at 32%, followed by the imaginative “I’m sick” at 20%.

Once you’ve used those up you can try “a family emergency” at 17% as the third most popular choice.

If you are pulling a sickie for a World Cup game this summer, please try to think of the contribution you’re making to that £13 billion dent on the UK economy – well, at least try to …

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