Page last updated at 01:25 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Bosses slam 'throw a sickie' ad

Man sneezing
The advertisers say taking a day off sick can be beneficial for employees

An advert for a cold and flu medicine has been criticised for encouraging workers to "throw a sickie".

The TV and web "Take a Benylin Day" ad offers advice on what to tell the boss when calling in sick and reviews the best DVDs to watch while at home.

The Federation of Small Businesses said the adverts were "outrageous".

The advertising company behind the campaign, JWT, said it had taken the advice of experts that taking a day off sick could help recovery from illness.

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Clips from the Benilyn TV advert

Benylin's website says the product is there to "take the guilt out of calling in sick when you need time off to rest and recover".

"We urge employers and employees alike to take a stand against cold and flu by staying at home, rather than going into work," it continues.

Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses criticised the message the advert sent out to employees.

"Actually urging them to stay at home and watch various videos or movies and telling them how to e-mail in sick, and how to e-mail their colleagues and bosses, really is outrageous," he said.

However, James Whitehead of JWT said the firm had been told that taking a day off sick could help workers return to their jobs fit and healthy.

He said: "We've been advised by health care experts that by taking one or two days off work, staying in bed, you can break that cycle and you can get to work healthy and productive."

The advert has been referred to the Advertising Standards Authority.

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