4media group worked with ASDA in order to boost brand awareness and specifically promote their pharmacies. The campaign consisted of research, broadcast and news generation elements. Specifically the campaign cantered around the true cost of sick day in the UK.

TV’s Dr Hillary Jones and pharmacist Maq Din fronted the campaign, giving broadcasters and publishers more insight into the findings of the research and wider insight in to the health impact of going back to work too soon.

The Campaign

It was reported by the Office for National Statistics that 2017 was the lowest year on record for workers taking sick days, and while employers may have been happy with the results (and the turnout of staff), many believe that employees are coming into work when ill because they are fearful for their jobs.

Research of over 2000 employed adults, conducted by our in-house research division, Atomik Research, may just support this view. The research found that over a fifth (21%) of employed adults do not get paid for any sick days taken off work. Furthermore, 51% of employed adults only get a limited number of paid sick days by their workplace. Of those who have a limited number of sick days they can take, 38% are only allowed up to 5 days.

Of the 6.8 million adults who don’t get any sick days, having 5 days off sick with the flu could cost them £309 in lost income (based on their average monthly take-home salary), which is £62 a day. For those entitled to 5 sick days, if they have already used their allowance and are struck down with the flu (for example) for a further 5 days, this could cost up to £640* in lost income, while per day that’s £128 (*based on their average monthly income).

Sadly, 74% of employed adults said they would feel obliged to come into work if they weren’t well. Those who have paid sick days are more likely to cite guilt and fear (from their boss or colleagues) as a reason to come in, while those who don’t get paid sick days physically can’t afford to take the time off.

Others reasons given include, worries about the work load piling up (23%), 21% say there isn’t anyone else to cover their work and 18% feel their colleagues/boss might judge them for being off.

55% employees say they would realistically only be able to take a maximum of three or four days off sick if they had a bout of flu – meaning they would be coming into work in the midst of suffering with the flu for several days at least. 24% of those who don’t get any paid sick days say they realistically wouldn’t be able to take ANY days off sick if they were to get the flu, and 18% would only be able to take one or two days off maximum.

Employees have come into work with a cold or the flu three times on average in the past year and 60% of employed adults believe they have caught a cold from a colleague that has come into work ill.


The campaign achieved widespread media coverage, picking up interviews and coverage across both broadcast and news outlets. Highlights included Talk Radio, BBC Radio West Midlands, The Daily Mirror, The Sun Online, The Scottish Sun online, The Scottish Sun, The Daily Record, The Newcastle Evening Chronicle and much more!


Coverage Highlights