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Small.biz slams union's 'sickie' advice

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The UK's Federation of Small Business has taken exception to an article by union Amicus which the former reckons is advising employees on the best way to throw a sickie during the World Cup.

The offending "World Cup fever" piece kicks off with: "So you want to watch the World Cup, but you are meant to be at work when it's on: can you play away or is the risk of permanent relegation from your job too high?"

A good question. Amicus then proceeds to offer advice on the various possible ways you can get yourself out of the office and into the pub before kick-off, including the provocative: "It is quite difficult to prove that someone is not really sick if they have one day off."

That was all too much for Stephen Alambriitis of the aforementioned federation, who declared himself "appalled" at "a major trade union offering guidance on the best way to throw a sickie". He described it to the BBC as "grossly unfair on all staff" before advising Amicus to pull the article.

Amicus head of legal affairs Georgina Hirsh hit back on BBC Radio 4's Today programme with: "On balance the article is far from encouraging people to take sickies, and in fact we advise people that it's a big risk for them to do so.

"I'm afraid the reality is - lots of people do take sickies whether it's for the World Cup or not," she noted.

She has a point. A quick head count at Vulture Central this lunchtime - ahead of England's clash with mighty Trindad and Tobago later today - revealed the unscheduled absence of 75 per cent of the staff for medical reasons ranging from "foot and mouth" and "unexpected outbreak of ebola" to "previously undiagnosed Huntington's Chorea" and "acute attack of dengue fever". Mercifully, everyone expects to be fit and well by tomorrow morning, which is a testament to the power of modern medicine. ®

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