America’s Sickest Days of the Year Revealed 

David Hehenberger's avatar David Hehenberger July 31, 2023

Here at Flamingo, the world’s favorite leave tracker, we’re always curious about how sick leave trends evolve over time. We recently performed an in-depth analysis of sick leave data collected over the past five years from businesses across the U.S. to discover if there are any patterns in the times Americans are taking time off work due to illness – and our findings might surprise you.

Our research revealed that August 24th holds the honor of being America’s ‘sickest’ day of the year. That’s right, the sunny days of late summer showed a more significant drop in attendance than the frosty winter months typically associated with colds and the flu. 

It was also fascinating to see that the second ‘sickest’ day of the year, February 13th, suspiciously aligns with the Super Bowl, one of America’s most beloved traditions. Coincidence? We’ll leave you to ponder that. 

The top 10 ‘Sickest Days of the Year’ in order, are:

  1. 24th August
  2. 13th February
  3. 25th October
  4. 15th December 
  5. 18th April 
  6. 2nd February 
  7. 24th January 
  8. 26th June
  9. 12th December 
  10. 5th September

Beyond just a single day, we discovered that February has been the “sickest” month over the past five years, with April and December close behind. During February, businesses across the country saw an average of 10% of their workforce taking sick leave.

Additionally, our research uncovered the most common ailments that prompt employees to call in sick. Over half (54%) of the sick leaves were due to stomach bugs, with the majority of leave analyzed stating a ‘stomach bug’, ‘diarrhea’ or ‘vomiting’ as the reason why people need time off work. These intestinal issues surpassed Coronavirus, which accounted for 25% of absences, anxiety or stress-related conditions, which led to almost 9% of sick leaves and musculoskeletal injuries/broken bones which caused 6% of people to have time off of work. 

We also delved into how employees typically inform their employers about their sick leave. The preferred method of communication was through text, Whatsapp, or Slack, with 54% of employees opting for this approach. A third (33%) of employees chose to call, while 12% preferred email, and a brave 2% wouldn’t tell their boss at all.

According to data from Statista, a significant 26% of Americans aged between 18-65 did not take a single sick day in 2022. More than one in seven (15%) took two to three days off and a staggering 5%, which is approximately 10 million people, took more than 20 days off due to illness.

Learn More: The Average Number of Sick Days in the US

Our analysis has been insightful, revealing some unexpected trends and patterns in sick leave across U.S. businesses.

More importantly, it underscores our mission we set out with when we launched our Leave Tracker App – to help businesses understand and manage employee well-being and set up efficient and healthy leave management practices. 

While it’s not a legal requirement to provide employees with paid sick leave in the U.S, national statistics show that the majority (79%) of US civilian workers had paid sick leave available to them in 2021.

It’s heartening to see that a large number of businesses prioritize their employees’ health by offering sick leave allowances. After all, an organization’s success lies in the well-being of its employees, and understanding these patterns can help businesses plan for staff shortages and ensure a healthy working environment.

Further Reading: Learn why Flamingo is one of the top Leave Tracking Apps on the market today.

David Hehenberger's avatar

David Hehenberger

David is the CEO and founder of Flamingo. He is a serial entrepreneur, and has built and exited multiple successful SaaS companies, and started Flamingo in 2021 to make it easier to track and manage leave in his own companies.

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