While working from home has become the new norm in the past couple of years, so has working while sick.

That’s because most U.S. employees who have made the shift are too worried about being criticized by their managers for taking time off, according to a survey by Theraflu, a subsidiary of GSK Consumer Healthcare.

About two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents who work remotely said they felt obligated to clock in rather than take a sick day, unless they have contracted Covid-19, the report found.

As a result, telecommuters have continued to work while ill an average of three times in the last year. Fifty-eight percent even reported that the pressure to not take a sick day is so intense that they will avoid doing so unless their symptoms are so severe, they can’t get out of bed.

Another 58 percent said they avoid calling in sick as they fear they will be criticized by their employer, and 55 percent report having to give their managers a reason for taking a sick day, the survey showed. At the same time, two-thirds of this group fell their employers never believe their reason.

Financial strain

For Black and Latina women, the pressure is even more severe. They are 10 percent more likely than white women to avoid sick days out of  fear of being reprimanded by their manager, the study said.

Economics also plays a role. About two-thirds (68 percent) of those polled revealed they will force themselves to work while sick because they can’t afford to take a sick day.

Black and Latina women also are more likely than white women to state that taking an unpaid sick day causes financial strain for their families.

“The findings from Theraflu’s Temperature Check Report are staggering,” Sameer Rabbani, Marketing Lead, Respiratory Health at GSK Consumer Healthcare, said in the report. “Not only are there unrelenting stigmas in taking sick time – but this research has further contextualized how many Americans are in situations where it’s financially or logistically impossible to take a single day off.”

“ As a culture, we’re often focused on powering through when we’re sick,” but “rest and recovery should be a right – not a privilege,” he added.

The Theraflu study polled 2,000 employed Americans in August 2021.

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