An expert has suggested that employers should make sure they are sympathetic and do not make workers feel guilty when they are sick.

The head of good practice services at the Advisory, Conciliaton and Arbitration Service, Gill Trevelyan, suggested that genuine illness is likely to be cured quicker if at home as opposed to attempting to work.

“Employers can do a lot to help keep their employees healthy including ensuring that both the workplace and job design take health and wellbeing into account,” she said.

“They can also provide information about healthy lifestyles or perhaps provide exercise facilities or opportunities and healthy food options.

“[However], if you are genuinely ill then you should not feel or be made to feel guilty about not being able to attend the workplace.”

Among other ideas, providing fresh fruit to workers and encouraging people to utilise their breaks well is likely to help workers prevent illness, FirstCare has suggested.