Super absenteeism | 16.1 million U.S. employees to miss work after Super Bowl Sunday

16.1 million U.S. employees to miss work after Super Bowl Sunday

16.1 million U.S. employees will be completely absent from work on Monday following Super Bowl Sunday, according to this year’s research from UKG.

The research, conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the UKG Workforce Institute finds the figures are down from last year. In 2023, nearly 18.8 million employees said they planned on missing work on Super Bowl Monday, otherwise known as “Super Sick Monday.”

However, 6.4 million further employees plan to come to work late, another 11.2 million are unsure of whether they will come to work, and around 6.4 million will decide what to do on the day.

The number jumps up for U.S. employees who plan to miss at least some work on Monday, reaching around 22.5 million employees – 14% of the U.S. workforce.

The research also finds six million employees have not yet notified their employers and will call in sick on the day or simply ‘ghost’ their employer on Monday.

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In last year’s report, the Workforce Institute identified a gap in trust between managers and employees as the reason for employees choosing not to notify their manager of plans not to come into work, with one in ten fearing reprimands or even probation just for asking for the time off.

And yet, Super Sick Monday absenteeism isn’t limited to individual contributors or associates. One in five people managers plan to miss at least some work, and over one in ten have previously admitted to calling in sick on the Monday after the Super Bowl when they weren’t ill.

Research from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas has previously estimated Super Bowl Monday to be the least productive day of the year, totaling $6.5 billion in lost productivity. Over a quarter of U.S. employees – some 45.1 million employees – say they will be less productive at work than usual.

Absenteeism costs the U.S. economy around $84 billion per year. In January 2024, more employees missed work due to sickness than any other month in 2023. Since December 2020, there have only been two months when less than one million workers called in sick (May and June 2023).

“Super Bowl Flu” absences are not a new phenomenon, and in recent years there have been calls to make Super Bowl Monday a public holiday. UKG’s research found over a third of employees think Super Bowl Monday should be a national holiday in the U.S.

Numerous petitions are created each year requesting action from Congress to make the day a Federal holiday. In 2023, senators in Tennessee proposed a bill that would place Super Bowl Monday as a national holiday in place of Columbus day.

Speaking to USA Today, Chris Todd, CEO of UKG says the Super Bowl is a national cultural phenomenon. “It's a day when people are with family and friends and neighbors and groups (and) in bars, for hours,” he explains. “And on the East Coast, in particular, the game ends really late.”

Over 115 million viewers tuned in to watch last year’s Super Bowl. Figures could be even higher this year, with 72% of Americans saying they will tune in to the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

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