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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Should attendance at work be rewarded?
Man with a cold
The Royal Mail is defending a scheme which has given free cars to postal workers for turning up to work.

Under the incentive, 37 staff have been given new cars and thousands more have won holiday vouchers after their good sickness record entitled them to a place in the draw.

Royal Mail reports that attendance levels have risen 11% - 1,000 workers a day - since it was launched last August.

Should good attendance at work be rewarded? Are schemes like this the way to combat absence? What are the alternatives for managing sick leave?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Mike King, UK:
Should workers get rewarded (above their normal pay) for having no sick leave and attending work?

Reward attendance?! It's called a salary. The employer pays the employee for their services to the company. That's the contract. Which bit do people not understand? If someone is continually absent from work for no valid reason then it should be assumed they no longer wish to honour the contract and therefore no longer wish to be 'rewarded' for their services.
James Hilton, London

Health can be improved by better food, cleaner offices with air-con that works and plants, free gym membership and flexi hours for attendance to the latter. It is no good struggling to work if you are actually ill as you will only spread your virus to all and sundry.
Louise Oliver, UK

What rubbish. If you do that you are saying that you don't believe someone when they say they are unfit for work. It also casts doubt on the validity of a doctor's diagnosis. And no I haven't had a day off sick for over five years.
Chris, Milton Keynes, UK

My former employer was not paying sick days which occurred during the first six months of employment. As a result, somebody was sick almost all the time, because the people who would have to stay at home unpaid were coming to work with temperatures, sneezing and making everyone else ill.
Lenka, London

Surely when you lose out for being genuinely sick there's something wrong with that
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex-UK
What happens when an employee clearly unable to work turns up and refuses to go home for fear of losing out on a new car or holiday? Does Royal Mail forcibly remove these people from the building? Surely when you lose out for being genuinely sick there's something wrong with that.
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex-UK

Hmm... I thought that sick days were part of the British culture? They are even advertised on the radio as a way of having extra days off. In the other countries I know (Japan, Italy and Poland) I have not noticed such habits. I suppose that this is one of the reasons why enterprises such as Rover have no future. This is a huge hidden cost. This also shows that a lot of jobs in the UK may simply be "virtual", ie not really needed.
Arek Zawada, Soham, UK

I am a temporary worker and only get paid for the hours I actually work. This is a great incentive to get out of bed in the morning and get myself to work. If I do take time off sick then I don't feel guilty about it. Perhaps the Royal Mail workers should get an hourly wage instead of a salary? If you take too much time off work sick then you should accept that your employer has the right a) not to pay you, b) to discipline you or c) in extreme circumstances to sack you.
Lisa Webb, Southampton, England

Fine for the Royal Mail, but smaller companies would not benefit from such rewards. How about just setting good working conditions so workers don't pull 'sickies' in the first place? This is why the Royal Mail suffers.
Richard, St Albans, UK

Think it would be better to apply something similar with our schools
Michael Geach, Newmarket
Think it would be better to apply something similar with our schools. Instead of constantly thinking up new ways of punishing bad behaviour and truancy, why not reward the children and families of those where the children are well behaved? In fact, the same sort of reward system might be considered for ex-criminals following their release from prison and help reduce re-offending.
Michael Geach, Newmarket

Does the company benefit at the end of the year? Giving out cars and holidays are expensive rewards. Maybe they could have used that money to hire an in-house doctor.
Andy, Egham

The problems with punishing people who take days off is that it is unfair to punish those who have genuine health problem and it is difficult to prove that some people are just "pulling a sickie". I think rewarding attendance is good. I feel pretty good about my attendance record, but sometimes it is good to feel that it is being recognised.
David Wiles, Reading, UK

I worked for Royal Mail for 10 years. The reason why so many staff have time off is because the job has been totally destroyed and devalued through poor wages, soul destroying shift patterns and most of all, probably the worst managers in any large scale organisation. For all the snooty people who have left messages about a job being a job, try being postal worker for a few months.
Andrew Cawtheray, Leeds

Sick pay should only be paid if a sick note is provided (not a self certifying one)
June Faulkner, Manchester
Sick pay should only be paid if a sick note is provided (not a self certifying one). If a sick note is not provided then the time should be taken out of the person's holiday allowance. If that is exceeded then the extra should be deducted from their pay. That way only genuinely sick people would take leave, and the money saved could pay for the temps that have to be employed to do their jobs or given as bonuses to the staff who have to do their work in their absence. June
June Faulkner, Manchester

Rewards for good sickness records are a great idea. Every company I have worked for have ignored this and after a while you wonder why you don't take duvet days but I am too honest and would not feel right about it. I work hard at keeping fit and well it would make it more worthwhile to know that it is appreciated and be an incentive too.
Nikky S, Hertford, Herts

It can be virtually impossible to prove whether an employee is genuinely ill or not and simply sacking someone can lead to cases for unfair dismissal. The Royal Mail scheme is designed to filter out those who have time off when they are not ill.
Gary Donovan, Tunbridge Wells, England

I've not had a day off sick in 16 years and never got a pat on the back, let alone a car. Does this mean if I worked for the PO, I would be entitled to a Ferrari by now?
AJ, Oxford

I thought attendance was recognised through pay, company benefits and actually having a job. Those who skive frequently are the first to go. I know, I've been sacked for absenteeism.
ed, london uk

I think too many bosses are quick to pick their staff up on the bad things, but not quick enough to offer praise when they do something good. Maybe a new car is a bit extreme but certainly incentive schemes would give staff that added edge when it comes to their work. If my bosses praised my efforts or even just thanked me for a hard day's work then it would probably be incentive enough to repeat the performance the following day.
Kelli Springall, London, UK

If you are sick, stay at home. Most importantly don't go to work for an incentive and infect others.
Mike O'Shea, Chilton, Oxon

If you are too ill to work then you should stay at home to recuperate
Noel Crump, Daventry, England
If you are too ill to work then you should stay at home to recuperate. If you go to work ill you simply spread your germs around making more people ill. Why should you be rewarded over and above your salary for doing what you contracted to do? If you want to stop 'sicko skiving', find them, warn them, and if it persists giver their job to somebody that really needs it.
Noel Crump, Daventry, England

It's nice to see that the increase in postage charges is being well spent on rewarding staff simply for turning up. It's shameful. I for one will never buy a first class stamp again.
Trevor, Cambs, UK

It looks like a good idea in theory. However, I fear that all too often people would struggle into work when they were really not well enough to be there. There is also the danger of passing around infectious diseases that in one person could be a head cold and pneumonia in another! Many Royal Mail workers are outside in all weathers, so if they are unwell, this could aggravate the situation. I think Royal Mail as a company have the wrong idea here.
Judy, Suffolk

The PC brigade has made it difficult to punish people who take time off sick when they are not ill. This at least rewards those who are loyal to the company and don't take time off for a hangover.
Caron, England

The only prize for skivers should be the bag commonly known as the sack! Not only does absence from work cost employers time and money, it also means the rest of us who aren't so lazy are continually picking up the work of those who are left!
Adam, Luton, UK

My first reaction is of offence to all of us that turn up at work in time and look after our health thus hardly taking any sick leave!
Laura, Fareham, UK

What Royal Mail is doing is indirect disability discrimination; those who have an illness lose out on a chance to get a reward. If I was off sick for more than five days a year I would have my pay decreased and I could lose my job. That makes me go into the office! At least now we may get our post on time!!
Dean Parrett, London

We are not rewarded for attending work, even those of us doing absurd hours (60 or 70 in a week). And even if you are off ill, they can still get hold of you easily. It seems a real shame we have to bribe people to go to work when they are already being paid to do a job.
David, Ipswich, UK

I'd rather have staff that looked after their health properly
James, UK
I'd rather have staff that looked after their health properly. If someone is genuinely ill, they should stay at home until they are better. Sick people are much less productive and run the risk of affecting other workers productivity by passing on their illness. Instead of this flawed scheme, why not promote a healthy working atmosphere in the first place? If workers are in a low stress environment they will be less inclined to pull a "sicky".
James, UK

This is just the tip of the iceberg. People at our work barely do any work if they're in the office as it is. They're probably as efficient if they took the day off anyway. Skiving is nothing in comparison to the problem of low productivity, and overzealous web surfing.
Steve ForbossHaggett, London

I think there should be a pot of money allocated for attendance. The pot is then split out by number of days attended. Then good attendees would automatically get rewarded and bad punished. I work for myself now and have no choice but for years my perfect attendance and driving record went unnoticed and unrewarded by every company I worked for. Maybe that says more about the companies I worked for than me.
Peter Webb, Hampshire, UK

On the face of it it's an absurd idea (cue the whole "that's for salaries are for" argument). However if the business is such that there is always going to be a massive amount of churn and sickness, then what alternative do they have? Having worked in a factory (a similar environment I'm sure) and seen first hand how rampant sickness was, I'd say they have little option.
Darren Coleman, Westbury, UK

Yes, it should be rewarded by continued employment. Excessive or fake sick leave should lead to the person loosing their job.
Richard Read, London, UK

I think rather then a chance of a car or whatever, the reward should be given to all with full (or nearly full) attendance as some sort of bonus payment or extra days' holiday. That said, as an employer, you always know who the 'skivers' are and who would need to be genuinely ill to stay off, so promote them or not, accordingly!
Clare, High Peak, Derbyshire

If you don't want to go in to work regularly, change employer!
Kevin Guthrie, Sheffield

What's the point in working hard? Employers aren't loyal to us and we shouldn't bother being loyal to them. I may be lazy anyway, but I feel that the modern predicament of job insecurity vindicates me.
Bill Johnson, London, England

Reward for attendance is your salary - it is a contract between employer and employee
Lucy, Berkshire, UK
Reward for attendance is your salary - it is a contract between employer and employee. Whilst sickness in some cases is valid, there are many cases which are false. Those which appear to be false and continually have sick days, ie days leading up to and post weekend days, should be exposed and fired. Why should those that work their contractual hours carry and cover for those that do not. No wonder jobs are moving to emerging markets!
Lucy, Berkshire, UK

Employees should be penalised for non-attendance, not praised for bothering to turn up. Surely a company could better use this money as reward schemes for good performance or long service, rather than a prize for turning up? Is a wage not good enough?
Vicky, Kent, UK

In the UK we seem to forget that if you have a job you are lucky! Being rewarded for turning up to you job which you are contractually obliged to do is an utter disgrace. Those work-shy shirkers that are pulling 'sickies' because they can't be bothered to work should be sacked and no allowed benefits.
Stu, UK

If so many people are calling in sick that they need to do this, they must have a lot of people very unhappy in their job. Spending the cash on better pay and conditions for their workers would be better than prize-draws, surely?
Gemma, UK

I agree with those who oppose people going into work when they are ill. If the illness is infectious, it will spread like wild fire around offices and factories.
Ian, Folkestone, UK

Showing up to work means you get paid
Susan, London
Typical Britain. What is wrong with you people? Showing up to work means you get paid, not get a free car. It's no wonder you aren't the world power any more with stupid schemes like this.
Susan, London

A percentage of pay should be linked to attendance and if attendance falls below that expected then that percentage should be docked.
Ron, Weymouth

The company I work for have had an award system in place for two years now. One of the categories is attendance, although time-keeping and many other things are considered. We are scored on each category at the end of the year. It was put in place mainly to combat criticism on a lack of company pay rise. I'd say that is better than nothing, but far from perfect as it is left to an individuals interpretation too often.
Steve Savery, Soundwell, South Gloucestershire

Sounds like a great way to de-motivate people who are unlucky enough be genuinely ill, while rewarding the fakers that decide not to skive.
Sara, Exeter, Devon

I suppose the price of a stamp will increase in the near future
Anonymous, Northants

I suppose the price of a stamp will increase in the near future to cover the cost of this silly idea. Perhaps the Royal Mail HR dept should investigate the reasons for such a high sickness absence rate - they will have plenty of time, as I expect they are all in work (complete with various ailments) waiting to win their new car!
Anonymous, Northants

It's because they're doing a boring job! If these workers were doing something that they actually felt was interesting, stimulating and worthwhile, they wouldn't skive off. Giving them pressies is like giving a child a chocolate bar to go to school. It's a confirmation of how rubbish the day will be.
Adrian H, London, UK

Well done Royal Mail. It's nice to see those who are towards the lower end of the pay scales given a chance to earn or win themselves a nice little bonus!
Simon Mallett, Maidstone, UK

I get rewarded on the 15th of every month when my employer pays me my agreed salary for doing what he employed me to do. It suits me.
Paul Murphy, Droitwhich, UK

No wonder the Post Office is in such a state! What has happened to good old management? If people abuse the system it's simple, they get fired.
Conor, Milton Keynes

I thought getting paid for your work was the attendance reward
Dave, Chatham, UK
I thought getting paid for your work was the attendance reward! I could argue that, as a diabetic I have lost only three days work to my illness in 26 years. Do I get a reward for that?
Dave, Chatham, UK

I can't believe how many commentators here are assuming that taking time of sick equals skiving. Thank yourselves lucky you are young and healthy. I had to take three weeks off work this year for treatment for cancer. I am very hard working and have never had a sick day otherwise, in over three years with my company. Are you seriously suggesting I should be punished?
Sarah K, Oxford, UK

Schemes that encourage the sick to come to work should be illegal. They are clearly detrimental to the health of sick workers and their colleagues who will be exposed to more infections. Royal Mail would do better to invest the money in programmes to ensure workers are genuinely sick when they claim to be, and offering those who are sick help to recover.
Richard, Bromley, Kent

People abusing the sick leave system indicate a wider underlying problem that is causing staff to be unsatisfied at work. Therefore I reckon that the Royal Mail would do better to use its money sorting it out and seriously addressing staff happiness than offering what amounts to bribes and just glossing over potentially more serious underlying problems.
Alex, London

This whole scheme makes a mockery of private sector employees
Prabhat, UK
This whole scheme makes a mockery of private sector employees. End Royal Mail's monopoly and let these loose ends of our service industry face same stiff competition as any other industry. Lets see how many cars will be doled out then.
Prabhat, UK

Royal Mail is free to spend as it sees fit. I would be particularly angry if it were taxpayers' money.
Simon, London

If you don't want your job then why not pack it in and let someone else that does want it do it instead? Seems fair to me.
Giles Clinker, London, UK

I teach at a secondary school in the East End. At the end of each term we present certificates to pupils who have attended the most days at school. With the bribery commencing at this young age it is no wonder that we have a working class which expects to be congratulated for simply turning up for work.
Richard Hamlin, Bethnal Green, London

Welcome to Blair's Britain. No discipline, no pride and no sense of duty. By the way, were the free cars a job lot of Rovers?
RC Robjohn, UK

High rates of absenteeism are a recognised symptom of a workforce at low esteem and low morale. Addressing the core issues would be a better response.
Pete Nightingale, Reading, UK

Good attendance should not be rewarded, that is what they are paid for with their contract of employment. The focus should be on managing poor attendance/sickness absence effectively and training managers to do so in compliance with legislation, using such tools as a return to work discussion. Genuinely ill people should not suffer either, they would attend if they could, and through such a scheme are penalised for being ill.
Melanie Berman, Leicestershire, England

I feel sorry for the few who have real illnesses so they can't participate in this scheme. Apart from that what does it say about our employment laws and handouts? Me thinks it's all out of hand
Clive, Woking

It would have been fairer if the cars had been awarded to those with good attendance before the incentive scheme was announced. Those skiving would not have been in the running then but would think twice in future about throwing a sicky.
Judy Barker, Cheltenham, UK

All too frequently I have suffered from cross-infection in the workplace
Steve Kinrade, Winchester
All too frequently I have suffered from cross-infection in the workplace. Quite honestly if one is sick then one should be entitled to rest and recover rather than risk passing the illness on to one's colleagues.
Steve Kinrade, Winchester, England

I am sick and tired of people who come into work when they are sick, sit at their desks making disgusting noises, do little or poor work, pass it to everyone else, and then expect you to think highly of them! I think we should be sending more people home when they are sick. We could all come in when we have 'flu if we wanted (or are bribed) to - but it is not necessarily a good thing for employee or employer.
Victoria Y, Cam, Gloucestershire

Can someone remind me who keeps putting up the cost of postage stamps because they claim they are making a loss? Now we know where some of our money is going. What ever happened to losing pay either total or reduced if you don't turn up for work?
Mark, Cheshire

Why would you want the extra 11% to turn up to work? If they only turn up because of a chance of a prize what's the chance they will do an honest day's graft.
Derren, Surrey

I think this just forces ill people back to work too soon
Jay, Warwick
I think this just forces ill people back to work too soon. I get really annoyed when colleagues come in, and spend all day coughing and sneezing, infecting me, then going home for the afternoon! Then the next week more staff are off ill.
Jay, Warwick

Those of you who are against this system, what would you have Royal Mail do? Sack the all offending skivers? Stretch the postal system with a reduced staff, while they put up the price of a first class stamp to pay for the impending recruitment drive? Royal Mail's system of reward for attendance is obviously working. As far as I see it they have gone a long way towards fixing a problem. Good for them.
Kate, Hampshire

Surely the aim of this scheme is to get people back to work who are skiving not the people who are genuinely sick. Everyone is ill once in a while, it's not right to punish people for that. Maybe they should use the money to look at why people skive from work, lack of morale poor working conditions, bad management etc and target them instead of rewarding lazy people for actually coming into work.
Andrew, Manchester, UK

In my last job, I never had one day off ill in over two and a half years, only to be made redundant (constructive dismissal) when it suited management to have staff cull. However, one manager who normally arrived late and left early, had over 40 days off ill per annum usually for nothing worse than a sniffle if anything at all. It's just great how the other half live, isn't it!
Dan, Strathclyde

Bonuses for just turning up? Ridiculous
Phil, Leicester
What a load of dross, you get paid to turn up, it's in everyone's contract, if you get bonuses for good work, then fine, but bonuses for just turning up? Ridiculous.
Phil, Leicester

The best way to reduce sick leave is to reduce stress. Since I've been working, I've seen the size of departments shrink by almost a third, while the work needing to be done has actually increased. Employ more staff and there'll be less people taking sickies.
Dave, Bristol, UK

Good attendance should be rewarded, but genuine sickness should not be penalised. There should be a tolerance level, anything above that then the person should show proof of illness (hangovers are no included).
Richard, Leamington

Surely a bonus scheme for hard working employees would be more effective for the company rather than one for just turning up every day.
Gemma Hyde, Swindon

I don't see why I should keep paying more for a stamp so Royal Mail can reward slackers
Ryan McConnell, Belfast
I don't see why I should keep paying more and more for a stamp and a frankly bad service, just so Royal Mail can reward slackers. Sick leave should not be thought of as extra holiday. Its pretty clear that the royal mail have got a problem in their HR dept. Sack those who are not performing, not reward those who do their job.
Ryan McConnell, Belfast, NI

I agree totally, as someone who has only taken one day off sick in four years I would be very happy with this.
James, Devon

My step son was awarded a holiday voucher by the Royal Mail for good attendance. It was totally useless to him as it had to be used against specific holidays and on his wage he can't afford holidays abroad.
Caroline, Kent

You should get rewarded directly for performance not just for turning up, They need to think about strategies other than Bribery as they have obvious managerial issues.
Nick King, London

Here in Holland if you have not taken any sick days over a certain period of time you get an extra day paid holiday leave. Works for us.
Steve, Eindhoven, Nederland

How about sacking the malingerers rather than treating the people in the Post Office who do a day's work like lottery winners?
Martin, London

This seems a bit unfair on those staff who, through no fault of their own, get sick and have to take time off. It effectively classifies them with those who constantly throw sickies to avoid work - not particularly motivating.
Tom, London,

This illustrates that sick leave is abused. It's a shame that the sick leave culture is prevalent enough to make management feel compelled to this sort of response, to get their already-contracted workers to come to work.
David Mason, Kenilworth, Warks

If attendance levels have improved by 11% it would indicate employees are absent without good reason. Is rewarding someone meeting their contractual obligations in this way an appropriate method for dealing with the issue? In the longer term staff will come to accept it and the positive effects will diminish. Far better to address the real causes why staff are absent.
S Hodgson, Worcester

There is sickness and illness. True illness should be covered by a sick note from your doctor and you should be paid by employer or state, even though you are absent. One day sickies should suffer loss of salary. For those who have a nil sickness record in one year- a small gift would be appropriate.
A McVeigh, Tyne & Wear

Commitment to work is an important part of any job
Brett Gibbons, Cheltenham
This is a great policy and rewards those that come to work. Commitment to work is an important part of any job. We have an employee who is always on the sick for no reason, I wish the company could sack him, but they just tip toe round it. His poor work and attendance doubles our work load. More rewards for hard workers, absolutely.
Brett Gibbons, Cheltenham

Why not? Delivering letters, collecting rubbish, cleaning the streets, who really wants to do these jobs? If there are rewards and incentives they only reflect on a smaller scale the (sometimes obscene) bonuses and pay-offs that senior managers receive.
Louis Berk, London

It is a good idea but we should be careful not to encourage people who are actually ill to struggle into work for the sake of a prize - that benefits no one.
Ben, Oxford, UK

This is very unfair on people who are genuinely ill. Last year I had no alternative but to take three months off work after major surgery for cancer.
Cynthia, UK

I have been in the same company for nine years and had seven days off sick (Which in most cases I was still working with my laptop). My fellow colleagues always seem to be off colds etc. My only reward for working through illness and doing my best to keep fit and healthy is to still have a job. The government should give a tax break for good attendance in my view.
Mark Kelly, Oldham, Manchester

Managers are not getting to the heart of the problem
Katy Dee, Lincoln, UK
As usual, managers are not getting to the heart of the problem. Apart from "genuine" sick leave which cannot be affected, people would feel far less to take time off if they actually enjoyed coming to work. It is often the case that a manager who is greatly respected and approachable and has developed a rapport with his/her team, has a far better attendance record from them too. Also, the people who have "genuine" illnesses are penalised by not being on the receiving end of these "bonuses" whilst the others are rewarded
Katy Dee, Lincoln, UK

I have suggested some kind of incentive scheme at my firm as I am sick to death of the extreme levels of absence with those of us with 100% attendance having to cover. The only other option is for disgruntled healthy people to take their quota of sick days which I know a huge amount of people do and which only add to the problem of high non-attendance levels.
Jo, Brentwood, Essex

This certainly will help discourage skiving but will penalise those who are genuinely ill and have to take a day or two off because they either feel too ill or they don't want to pass their germs onto others. I would much rather those with colds etc stayed at home until better so as not to pass on their germs to me.
Mark Gurney, UK

Yes. I work in an organisation with high sick rates. It would be nice to know the management appreciate that I have never missed even an hour sick since getting the job four years ago.
Tim, UK

This seems to be an attempt to circumvent "sickies" by discriminating against those who really are unwell. A responsible employer would certainly monitor sickness records, and enquire sensitively about the reasons for absence, particularly any regular absences, high levels of absence, or suspicious patterns (e.g. days of away games). This should help to identify anyone who really is unwell, perhaps as a result of poor health and safety practices that the employer ought to deal with. Good health is its own reward. People who take sickies when they are not ill make it tougher for those who really are ill.
Robert, Reading, England

I just left a company after four years service, and in all that time I never took a single day off sick. I think that in the current climate, that ought to be rewarded - although ideally honest hard work really ought to be standard practice in Britain. Otherwise we'll be in serious danger of falling behind our competitors in the States, Europe, Japan and the newly invigorated Asian countries.
Nikolai, London

Employers need to build up a system of trust, so that when people are ill they believe them
Liz, Stockport Cheshire
With all the tight restrictions on sick leave people are now going into work when they really aren't well enough - so they are making mistakes, probably feel resentful, and spread their germs. Others catch them and the cycle continues and morale declines. Employers need to build up a system of trust, so that when people are ill they believe them, and people respect their employers are only take time off if they are actually ill.
Liz, Stockport Cheshire

What a great idea! Myself and other colleagues often turn up to work feeling "under the weather" only to find that others have rung in sick for seemingly lesser ailments! It feels that many people are off sick for the slightest reason and are not penalised whilst others come in to work and get no thanks for turning in when they could be at home! Free cars may be a bit extreme but a reward of sorts would certainly make me feel better!
Carolyn Bentley, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Sticking plaster solution to a problem I guess of low pay, poor conditions and lack of job satisfaction. Maybe these fundamental flaws should be tackled at a slightly deeper level.
Hayley Rose, London

Me forcing myself back to work after a nasty virus and at the onset of ME (as it turned out to be) probably contributed to the latter condition becoming chronic. I subsequently lost my job as my health failed and 3 1/2 years later I'm still ill. That was my reward. Sure, deal with those abusing the system but don't punish those who are doing their best despite poor health.
Antony, York, UK

For honest employees it'll mean you get rewarded for just being lucky enough not to get ill, which sounds silly, and for the dishonest ones it's a potential reward for doing what you should be doing anyway. Schemes like this might work, but they are unjust.
Simon, Manchester, UK

Royal Mail should look closer at why staff feel they need to take time off work in the first place
Ann, Hereford
Who pays for all the cars and holiday vouchers - is this what the recent increase in postage payments is for? I think Royal Mail should look closer at why staff feel they need to take time off work in the first place.
Ann, Hereford

My initial reaction was negative, but there are other circumstances where work seems like a worse option such as being better off on the dole, adding sick leave onto your holiday entitlement or being off sick on full pay for six months then miraculously getting better when your pay is decreased. So I think it is good to reward good behaviour for a change.
Jayne, Birmingham

It is not how many days you spend at work that matter, it is how effective and productive you are when you are there that really counts.
George Pew, Mauritius

I am classed with the Sick Club Cheats if I have a couple of days off with flu, so I don't infect my colleagues. Yet the compulsive abusers are rewarded for being at work, where they should be? They'll just claim their win and revert back to their normality.
DJR, Chesterfield

It's pretty sad that we have to bribe people to come to work these days
Scott, Aberdeen
It's pretty sad that we have to bribe people to come to work these days. Now that people have strong protection at work, doctors who sign sick notes for stress and depression at the drop of a hat, people find it all to easy not to turn up. I would give people extra holiday days for not being off - reward those who work hard.
Scott, Aberdeen

My company used to have an incentive scheme to ensure people maintained a good sickness record. It was called "fear of the sack" and it worked brilliantly!
Nick, London, UK

I find the whole idea ridiculous. For a start people are paid to attend work unless they are truly sick, and more importantly this discriminates against people who are genuinely unwell. Back to work interviews, close monitoring of days off combined with the offer of (paid for) medical examinations would help. If an employee takes repeated time off but refuses the offer of a medical check up, then it may be reasonable to consider some form of punitive action. Requiring an individual to phone in and talk to someone to report sickness also helps. It really is amazing how ill someone can sound (the 'sick' voice) even if they have sprained an ankle.
Reg, Hastings, England

I'm not sure whether good attendance should be rewarded, but absence should be monitored closely. Genuine illness is usually covered by a doctor's note, but it's the constant taking of odd days off - especially Mondays and Fridays - that should be monitored. It has been my experience that it is usually the same people taking such time off.
Suzanne, Rhondda, Wales

I think it is entirely wrong to reward workers in this way. Surely if they are able to attend now, they must have been 'skiving' previously. Are they paying tax on these 'rewards'. On my record, having worked in local government since I left school and having had very little absence, I think I am owed a Rolls Royce!
Linda Walker, Shrewsbury, England

Any incentive to combat absenteeism is welcome
Adrian, Coventry
Any incentive to combat absenteeism is welcome. Threats of dismissal are usually combated with union pressure so reversing the psychology is a step in the right direction. A friend who runs a pub has virtually eliminated the problem by offering monthly cash in hand bonuses to staff who attend and are on time for all their shifts. The money is handed out in a sort of "name and shame" ceremony to show the offenders what they are missing.
Adrian, Coventry

It does penalise parents especially of small children, who catch more coughs and colds thanks to their kids. I've worked at a company that deducted 10% of your bonus for every day you were off sick (as well as not paying you). They had a high turnover of staff due to resentment.
Chris Smith, Eccles, UK

There is already an incentive for turning up to work. It's called wages. Don't work and you shouldn't get any! Your absence puts more work onto your workmates. Sick-pay schemes are there to protect the genuinely sick, those that can get a medical practitioner to vouch for them.
Alan, West Bromwich

Poor attendance is simply the outcome of poor management
Catherine, Glasgow
This is just a short-term stunt! Poor attendance is simply the outcome of poor management and/or culture. Why not try treating your employees with respect and give them good rewards for doing a good job, and you are bound to get 110% from them. It's a myth that people have to be coerced into working, they just want to feel that they are being treated like mature, intelligent human beings, not bad children or worker ants!
Catherine, Glasgow

I suspect that the people earning these rewards are probably the people who would have had good attendance anyway. There may well still be a hard core of people taking 'sickies'. Also, it's very unfair on people who are genuinely sick, and has probably resulted in some people coming in to work when they should be off: there's nothing worse than spending your working day with someone who's coughing and sneezing all over you.
Philip, Banbury, Oxfordshire

Postal workers who pull a sickie should be given the sack.
Chris, Kettering, UK

Sounds like a good idea to me. To think that people are always sick for genuine reasons is a little naive and this will encourage people to make the extra effort to get out of bed after a heavy night out.
AR, Edinburgh

It should be the opposite way round. Those that fail to show up should be sacked. There are plenty of ex-Rover workers to take their place.
James Murphy, Dorset

If the cost of these lavish rewards is less than the cost of sick leave then I suppose it is worthwhile. But I think it would be better to investigate the reasons for such high levels of absence and tackle those.
Vivien, Herts

Was this from the same good ideas department that spawned the Consignia rebrand?
C Turner, Derbyshire
Was this from the same good ideas department that spawned the Consignia rebrand? Encouraging sick people to come into work and infect everyone else is a novel approach to increasing productivity.
C Turner, Derbyshire

I'm absolutely disgusted - postmen and women get paid a decent wage and there is always the offer of overtime. This is playing right into their hands. Come on postal service, get a grip!
John Melrose, London

I am a postal worker with a very good attendance record. However, I see nothing wrong with this incentive. Don't salesmen have top of the range cars as rewards and executives have free healthcare and bonuses?
T Portman, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

I think rewarding people who have a 100% attendance record is a good idea. However, the Royal Mail scheme seems odd as a good attendance record only entitles the employee to be entered for a lottery. A bonus for all with a 100% attendance would seem a much better way to go.
Paul, London, UK

A new car for turning up to work? No wonder the price of stamps is constantly rising.
Nige, England

It is rather like rewarding honesty. You shouldn't have to.
Lawrie, Chippenham

What's wrong with a bit of old fashioned commitment to your job?
Leo, Edinburgh
Too many people take sick days for nothing more than a common cold. What's wrong with a bit of old fashioned commitment to your job?
Leo, Edinburgh

It is a very sad reflection on today's society that the only way to get people to do an honest day's work is to bribe them.
Mark, Manchester

Any company that has to run such a scheme should be asking itself some very serious questions about why exactly it has to run such a scheme. Pay staff properly, given them job security, make them feel worthwhile.
Steve Brereton, York

The firm I work for does not pay for the first day's sick. Apparently this applies even if you are off due to an industrial accident. Absence should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and anyone swinging the lead should be dealt with accordingly, rather than encouraging genuinely ill people to attend work.
Simon, Kent

Although such schemes may be effective in encouraging malingerers to go to work, it's inherently unfair and even dangerous. Firstly, it effectively penalises those who are ill. Secondly, it encourages people to come into work when they are sick. This means they could pass on their illness to other employees. If someone with Rubella came into work to avoid losing these incentives, and infected a pregnant woman, the disease could seriously damage her baby.
Trevor Barker, Surrey

Great, when will my fleet of cars be delivered?
Rodger, Towcester, GB
Great, when will my fleet of cars be delivered? I have only had 11 days sick in 34 years of working. Ooops, forgot I work in the private sector where, surprisingly, we are expected to stick to our terms of employment and turn up for work
Rodger, Towcester, GB

It's a great idea to help reduce those sick days that aren't necessarily because you are sick, but it does penalise those who are off work ill through no fault of their own.
Andy, Leeds

This scheme aim to promote a culture where people drag themselves to work with all sorts of ailments, infecting their workmates and it penalises those who suffer long-term chronic sickness - these people have enough to put up with already.
Mark Fairman, Matlock, UK

Absolutely! I think rewarding positive behaviour has a much better long term effect than punishing bad behaviour. Punishment for lack of attendance would lower morale but encouraging the staff with benefits has increased attendance and morale in a one go.
Matt, Midlands

I went into the office last week with a cold and was told to go straight home as my co-workers didn't want to catch my germs. If there had been a new car at stake I'd probably have ignored them and spread the bug round the office!
Rob S, Cambs

Companies should address the serious issue of why someone might feel they need to take a sick day, rather than promote bribery to get their staff to come into work.
Emma, Stockport

The only incentive for turning up to work should be to keep your job!
Damien, Nottingham
I think it's absolutely pathetic. The only incentive for turning up to work should be to keep your job!
Damien, Nottingham

What about all the genuinely ill people? I have worked for my company for five years without a single day off sick. However, I've recently been diagnosed with a serious problem which could see me out of action for up to three months. Should I be penalised for this?
Ben, UK

The company I work for doesn't give sick pay at all. Needless to say, attendance is always very good.
Nick Daniels, Luton, Beds

Stone the crows! I've never heard anything so utterly ridiculous. What shall we give them for actually doing a good job? The crown jewels ?
Tim Whelan, Guildford

Attendance at work should be rewarded. How about a package - agreed on commencement of a contract - that allows the employee to receive a set amount of money each month in return for fulfilling his or her contractual agreement. We could call it a salary!
Drew, UK

Those that take too much time off should simply be fired
Stuart, England
Why reward something that is part of their normal contract of employment anyway? Those that take too much time off should simply be fired.
Stuart, England

Why do people not make the effort if they are feeling unwell? Perhaps Royal Mail should find out why people stay off work with minor ailments. On the other side of the coin, people might feel they should come in to work when they are really too ill to and cause a H&S problem. This hasn't been properly thought out.
Jerry, Basingstoke

Instead of rewarding people for doing their job they should be punishing those who do not.
Andy, Brighton

If you are ill you should be able to stay away from work with a clear conscience. Rewarding attendance will only lead to people attempting to work when they are sick, thus facilitating the spread of infectious diseases.
Steve Robey, UK

If these incentives improve attendance it proves that the company sick pay scheme was being abused. People should be ashamed of themselves.
MG, Southport

They should be penalised for not turning up for work, not rewarded for doing so
Tom, London
How utterly absurd. They should be penalised for not turning up for work, not rewarded for doing so.
Tom, London

Anything that encourages people to go into work when they are ill is a pretty bad idea. People need to be encouraged to take care of their health, not be pressured into working through illness.
Richard Earl, Dundee

A reward, just for turning up at your legitimate place of employment, speaks volumes about the record losses the Royal Mail has been suffering.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury

Companies should reward employees for good performance at work, not for good attendance.
Richard, London

I have an incentive to attend my workplace - it's called salary. If I don't turn up I don't get paid, if I were to do this too often I'd lose my job. Why should Post Office workers be treated any differently?
Alan, London

If you've got a job, do it!
Chris Toy, London
This is ridiculous. Should we start rewarding politicians for attendance in parliament too? If you've got a job, do it!
Chris Toy, London

Some people are unlucky enough to fall ill more often than others, and this policy discriminates unfairly against those with long-term manageable illnesses.
Peter, Telford

Yes, it's called your pay cheque!
Allan, Reading

Damn good idea. Us single people who always turn up need a break, and a reward for covering for parents who have no responsibility to their work!
Tony Humphreys, Prestatyn, UK

Poor attendance should be recognised with the sack
Jeffrey Lake, London, UK
Poor attendance should be recognised with the sack. Royal Mail should not be put off from removing people who do not fulfil their part of their employee contract. Prize draws are not a long term strategy.
Jeffrey Lake, London, UK

I think the royal mail do a great job, why shouldn't they be rewarded? If the royal mail are willing to do this, and it works then fair play to them.
Michele Hanlon, Hampshire UK

Yes. I agree whole heartedly. I've only taken 4 days off sick in the last 2 years. So a bonus (either an extra day off or cash bonus would be lovely). However, we must be careful that companies do not start penalising staff for being ill.
A, London, UK

Disgusting; These are public servants whose salary is not a joining fee but is an obligation to work diligently and not to skive.
David Ball, Wokingham, UK

When a deadly flu virus emerges it will be precisely those borderline cases that will help spread the disease
David R, Plymouth UK
Of course good attendance should be rewarded as it will encourage those borderline cases to attend work rather than stay at home. Of course, come the oft predicted day when a deadly flu virus emerges it will be precisely those borderline cases that will help spread the disease. Until then though the figures speak for themselves, it is obviously cost effective to offer new cars as an incentive to improve staff attendance in a job often fraught with morale issues.
David R, Plymouth UK

So presumably, at least 11% of the staff (1000 a day) were malingering before the scheme started?
J.G., Scotland, U.K.

I was under the impression that good attendance at work was already rewarded in the form of a salary!
Stu, Warwick, UK

Won't this just encourage people who are ill to come to work and infect everybody else?
DK, Liverpool

Am I being stupid in thinking that wages are our reward for working?? Like the railways, yet another unionised former public company who's employees can't face the fact that they are in the real world now.
Mike, Solihull, UK

If attendance has shot up 11%, it just proves that people were shirking before! They should be sacked for malingering not rewarded! How ridiculous.
Jon Cooper, UK

It's a great idea if the company can afford it
Stuart Wootton, Swansea
I think it's a great idea if the company can afford it. At the company I currently work for there are prizes for call times and most improved people etc. I think something for attendance would be great.
Stuart Wootton, Swansea

It is still an employer's decision whether to pay its employees full-pay sick leave. If they are having problems they should scrap that idea and ensure that any employee going on sick leave only gets statutory sick pay which anyone will know is markedly down on full pay. A week or two on considerably reduced cash would make an employee think twice about skiving off. Also, why not write into contracts - no sick pay within the first six months. It works.
G D Price, London

It should work the other way around - bad attendance (if you go over a set amount of sick days without very good reason) means you don't get paid. Or you the sack. Simple.
Paul, Halifax, UK

Postal attendance rewards return
24 Apr 05 |  Business
Healthy mail staff offered prizes
05 Aug 04 |  Business


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