Duvet DayNoun – An unscheduled extra day’s leave from work, sanctioned by one’s employer. Oxford Dictionary 

History of the duvet day 

It is said that duvet days originated in the UK in 1997. August One Communications introduced the scheme that allowed employees time off that was not pre-planned or sickness. The idea behind duvet days was to reduce the number of sick days that were taken, specifically the days when an employee is ‘pulling a sickie’.

Benefits of the duvet day 

Introducing duvet days can ensure that employees feel that they are being treated with respect, and as a result become more productive in the workplace. The scheme also allows employees to avoid lying to their employers, specifically on days where they are not in the right frame of mind to work. Promoting honesty in the workplace and not lying about being ‘sick’.

Drawbacks of the duvet day 

Could idleness be encouraged, and also a lack of responsibility for overindulgence the night before become the norm in the workplace? If the duvet day does not offer any additional perks to retain staff, then perhaps it isn’t right for your company.

Adding duvet days to your business 

To add duvet days to your business you need to think of how you will make it work and also the steps you need to take to implement it. Below is a checklist of things you need to think about:

  1. Implementing a Duvet Day Policy – new and existing employees
  2. Number of days (majority of employers offer two per year)
  3. Time of year days can be taken
  4. Days of the week that can be taken

Duvet days vs mental health days 

Earlier this year an employee was praised by her employer for taking a ‘mental health’ day. (Read about this story here)

But what is the difference between a mental health day and a duvet day?

A duvet day in essence is a day that is taken when you are not sick but would like a day to rest and recharge yourself. Mental health days are a sick day and employers are encouraged to treat time of work because of mental health the same as days taken off for physical health problems.

While it may be easier for an employee to take a duvet day or say they have food poising to avoid having a conversation about mental health, all employees should be encouraged to talk to their employer to allow for potential reasonable adjustments.

Sickness Absence Management                                                           

Having an employee call in sick is frustrating but inevitable as employees will have sickness at some time and be unable to attend the work place. Stress as a reason for sickness is difficult to manage and it is on the increase, sick notes being extended and long-term sickness situations can be frustrating to manage. Frustration can come from feeling there is nothing that you can do about this, but there is.

Sickness absence management is a training course offered by AHR Consultants that gives managers the confidence to firmly manage absence; short and long-term. To speak with us about this course please complete a training enquiry form, here.

AHR Consultants 

If you have any questions regarding your policies, sickness or mental health days please call us on 0345 076 2288 to speak to one of our consultants.