An estimated 17.2 million Americans are expected to miss work the day after the Super Bowl LIII. That would be a record-breaking absenteeism number, according to the Super Bowl Fever survey by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated. Thirty-two percent of workers believe the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday.
Who is truant?
Many (7.8 million) of those predicted to be absent are not prescheduling the time off. And 4.7 million are predicted to call in sick, even though they are not actually sick. That is across all sorts of industries, but the biggest percentages come from manufacturing/construction (6 percent), medical facility/hospital employees (5 percent), office workers (3 percent) and retail/hospitality associates (1 percent).
For those who do go to work, nearly 22 million are expected to arrive late, leave early or work from home. Senior-level/executive leaders account for more than one-third of those 22 million. But 9.4 million are estimated to be undecided about their post-Super Bowl work plans.
The Super Bowl Fever survey indicates that senior executives may have a better sense of humor about the phenomenon, indicating they find it funny when co-workers call out sick after Super Bowl when they are suspected to not actually be sick. About 51 percent of junior and mid-level employees don't get the joke. [Interested in time and attendance systems to track when your employees call in sick? Check out our best picks.]
"Both employees and their bosses continue to play hooky the day after The Big Game," said Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos. "Yet many younger employees report feeling more anxious about this Monday than any other Monday of the year, suggesting they do not feel comfortable having an open and honest conversation with their manager. Organizations that are transparent about staffing needs, consider innovative scheduling solutions to help employees arrange coverage with co-workers, and plan engagement-boosting activities related to the game – and other major cultural events – that will deliver better business outcomes throughout the entire year."
The national holiday debate
This record absenteeism may have restarted a perennial argument that the day after Super Bowl ought to be a national holiday. And two out of five employees would prefer to work Black Friday than the Monday after the Super Bowl. And in 2018, employers were estimated to have lost $3 billion in lost productivity, according to HR consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
Perhaps it's because the New England Patriots have been to four of the last five games, but 76 percent of the employees in the Northeast are aware that it is the No. 1 sick day of the year, compared to 67 percent of the South, 63 percent in the West and 67 percent in the Midwest.
The argument to add this day as a national holiday comes up every year. In 2016, a Change.org petition initiated by Heinz garnered 70,997 supporters. Heinz had promised that if 100,000 people signed it, the company would send the petition before Congress.
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The previous record absenteeism was 16.5 million workers who were out the day after Super Bowl 50 in 2016. The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated started tracking Super Bowl-related absenteeism in 2005. The survey of 1,107 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older was conducted from Jan. 9 to 11, 2019. The population estimates are extrapolated based on the survey results and the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which indicates there are 156.9 million employed people ages 18 and up in the U.S.