Employers are likely to be faced with an extra problem in addition to cold weather and dark nights this winter – an increase in unauthorised absences, claims a leading employment law firm.
Hammonds said that the combination of alcohol-soaked Christmas parties, the pressure to get the festive shopping done and the cold, rain and snow would prove to much for some employees and was likely to cause an increase in "sickies".
Hammonds employment lawyer Sarah Bunker said: "The cocktail of alcohol, preparation for the festive season and cold weather makes absenteeism a real problem for any employer at this time of year.
"Annually the CBI says that absenteeism costs the UK £11.6 billion a year or 40 million lost working days a year."
The start of the Ashes Tests in Australia was likely to have an impact too, the firm claimed, with employee absenteeism rising by 20 per cent during the 2005 Ashes and up to 30 per cent by the final test match.
Employers could also face loss of productivity and performance issues due to staff tiredness, Ms Bunker warned.