What is labor presenteeism?

A colleague, a doctor to be exact, recognized me, during a conference dinner, that in his 29 years of professional practice he had not never a sick leave. I asked him if he had never been sick and he replied that everything had happened to him, broken rib, because he is a motorcyclist, gout attacks, gastroenteritis, etc. To my surprise, he replied that he considered that he could not abandon his patients and that such responsibility it prevented him from missing to hospital.

It is known by the name of presenteeism to the situation that occurs when we go to our work despite being sick, that is, just the opposite of absenteeism. If you are self-employed you will be pulling your hair when reading this paragraph, it is not surprising. In general, this collective does not generate income the day he doesn't work. But of course, in the context of the situation in which we live, with a global pandemic due to COVID-19 this can be something very dangerous for all.

According to data from the survey Conditions of Work, Insecurity and Health in the Context of COVID-19 (COTS), carried out on more than 13,000 people by one of the most important unions in our country, approximately 13% of people with a job facing the public (dependent waiters, taxi drivers, etc.) have come to their work with symptoms consistent with infection by coronavirus, fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, among others. The main reason has been to avoid reduced income or the dismissal by your company.

According to data recently published in a study carried out by the French Institute for Statistics on Labor-Related Aspects (Dares), as published by Le Monde, presenteeism has a lot to do with working conditions. Paradoxically, the more intense and intrusive, in private life, is work there is a greater presenteeism. The feeling of not fulfilling their role correctly, that things are worse when they return, or that their work is delayed or falls on other colleagues, have a great influence.

Labor Relations

The work climate also plays a role. Tense relationships with 'the boss', being the object of hostility from certain colleagues or being in a period of reorganization in the company structure or department induces to avoid the period of leave. Logically, the fear of losing your job, in the end, is what weighs the most in the decision. The size of the company or office also has a great influence. The smaller the structure, the more employees avoid the low. Another characteristic is that women have more presenteeism than men, executives than non-executives, and older people than younger people.

Prolonged leave

But things can become more complicated than they might appear a priori. Sometimes he avoid a short-term leave, or several, can lead to developing a disease that requires a very long one. For example, in a waiter a persistent pain in the shoulder due to an overload of this joint can cause a tendon rupture that requires treatment and recovery that can last up to a year and the remedy can be worse than the disease. On the other hand, there is a complaint from unions and workers that the Mutual Societies they are discharged excessively early many times. This leads to the same situation, a reinstatement that is too early can lead to a greater loss.

It goes without saying that going to work with symptoms compatible with coronavirus infection is a very great irresponsibility. Having a fever, muscle aches, diarrhea or headache in the context in which we move today makes it necessary to go to the doctor or health center to rule out COVID-19 infection. If so, you will have to do the corresponding treatment and also the quarantine. In addition, alert potential contacts to avoid an outbreak of the disease that can even end with the preventive closure of the workplace.

Second wave of COVID-19

Imagine that the captain of the Titanic was given a second chance, that he could save all the passengers on his ship and that on his next trip he hit the iceberg again. Well, this is what is happening to us with the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems that we are repeating the same mistakes or similar to the first wave. It is true that we have more means (gels, masks, tests, etc.), more knowledge of the appropriate drugs for treatment and the number of cases is known more accurately, since more tests are carried out. Although the average age of patients has decreased to around 40 years, approximately 10% still develop a very serious disease that can cause sequelae or lead to death. We cannot let our guard down.

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