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Kronos Survey Shows Employees around the World “Making the Call” to Skip Work and Watch Sports Instead

CHELMSFORD, Mass., May 21, 2012 — A new global survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute™ at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by Harris Interactive reveals that employees around the world have, to varying degrees, called in sick to work over a sporting event. Whether they stayed home to watch it on television, attended it live, played the sport themselves, or needed a day off after staying up late to watch, sports have a significant impact on attendance at work. The Kronos “Sidelined by Sports” survey also looks at which sports are most likely to keep employees from their jobs in each region and how guilty – or not guilty – people feel about calling into work sick.

News Facts

  • Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Mexico, the U.K., and the U.S. were represented in the survey.
  • Significant numbers of employees around the world admit to calling in sick to work so they could stay home and watch or attend a sporting event. China led all surveyed regions with 58 percent, while in France only one percent answered yes. Other countries polled included India with 48 percent, the U.K. with 24 percent, Mexico with 21 percent, Australia with 19 percent, Canada with 13 percent, and the U.S. with 11 percent.
  • High numbers of respondents also said that they had called in sick the day after a sporting event because they were up late watching/attending it: 54 percent in China, 41 percent in India, 23 percent in the U.K., 19 percent in Australia, 16 percent in Mexico, nine percent in Canada, seven percent in the U.S., and one percent in France.
  • When it came to calling in sick to play a sport themselves, 49 percent of people in China admitted to doing this, followed by India with 38 percent, Mexico with 18 percent, the U.K. with 16 percent, Australia with 10 percent, Canada with seven percent, the U.S. with five percent, and France with zero.
  • Which sports were most likely to cause employees to miss work? In Australia, France, Mexico, and the U.K., football (referred to as soccer in the U.S.) took the top spot. In the U.S., it was American football, China was basketball, Canada was hockey, and India was cricket. International Competition was also in the top three sports mentioned for six of the eight regions polled – only the U.S. and India did it not rank as high. 
  • How did employees feel about calling in sick to watch or play sports? Pretty guilty! The numbers of people who responded that they felt “at least somewhat guilty” were 92 percent in France, 90 percent in China, 85 percent in Mexico, 78 percent in India, 74 percent in Australia, 71 percent in the U.S., 64 percent in Canada, and 63 percent in the U.K.
  • When it came to what employers could do to prevent employees from calling in sick when they are not actually sick, the top answer in every region was to allow employees to work flexible hours – this tied for first place with allowing employees to work from home in India. Allowing employees to take unpaid leave and establishing a benefit like summer Fridays were the other options chosen most frequently in every region.
  • Unscheduled absences – such as when an employee calls in sick at the last minute – cost organizations 8.7 percent of payroll each year as discussed in a recent survey conducted by Mercer and sponsored by Kronos.

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute, Kronos
    “Unscheduled absences cost organizations 8.7 percent of payroll each year – that’s a significant dollar figure. This survey indicates that sporting events of all kinds can be a trigger for unscheduled absences. Managers would do well to speak with employees when they know there is a big sporting event coming up to try to determine who is likely to be out. Planned absences cost organizations less because alternatives can be put in place at a less-than-premium price. An automated workforce management solution can enable smarter scheduling and also identify trends and patterns of absenteeism to help organizations be smart about controlling their labor expenses.”

Supporting Resources

Survey Methodology

U.S.: This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kronos from April 10-12, 2012 among 2,145 adults ages 18 and older, of whom 1,189 are employed full/part time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Global Omnibus: This study was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kronos among a total of 7,302 adults aged 16-64 (5,793 of whom are employed full/part time) within Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, India, and Mexico from April 11-17, 2012 via its Global Omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, education, region, income, and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. This data were weighted to reflect the composition of the online adult population. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About The Workforce Institute

The Workforce Institute was founded by Kronos Incorporated in 2006 as a think tank to provide research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is the global leader in workforce management solutions that enable organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Tens of thousands of organizations in 100 countries — including more than half of the Fortune 1000® — use Kronos time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics applications. To learn how Kronos uniquely delivers complete automation and high-quality information in an easy-to-use solution, visit


© 2012 Kronos Incorporated. All rights reserved. Kronos is a registered trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. 

Laura Souza
Kronos Incorporated
+1 978.947.4777