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The Globe and Mail

Most Canadians go to work when sick: survey

Is one of your colleagues coughing, sneezing and otherwise spreading their infectious cold or flu related germs your way as you read this?

Or worse: Are YOU the person who showed up at work even though your skin is grey, you can't breathe through your nose and your fever is causing near-hallucinations? In that case, you are the office pariah. But take heart – you're not alone.

A new survey (commissioned by a company hoping you'll buy its cold medication) has found that 62 per cent of Canadians go to work when they're sick instead of staying in bed for the day. While common sense dictates the onset of cold or flu symptoms is a clear sign from your body it needs rest, it seems the majority of employees are concerned about the message their absence could send.

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"People aren't taking sick days. One reason being that they feel they aren't allowed to and that it'll be frowned upon," said Nora Spinks, CEO of Toronto's Work-Life Harmony Enterprises, in a press release issued by the makers of cold remedy Benylin.

The release highlighted the fact that nine out of 10 employees went home for the day when they were instructed to by their employer. While this suggests some measure of workplace loyalty/guilt persuades people to report to the office when sick, it also indicates that your boss is probably aware of the fact you are spreading germs around – which likely won't earn you any brownie points.

Do you stay home when you're feeling under the weather, or do you bite the bullet and trudge into the office?

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