Business owners and managers are becoming increasingly frustrated with employees taking time off to attend doctors' appointments, despite not wanting them to work while sick, according to AXA PPP Healthcare.

Nearly a third (32%) of business owners, directors, senior and middle managers surveyed said prefer employees not to come to work when feeling unwell, but a similar number (29%) say they’re frustrated by the working time lost when employees take time off for medical appointments.

And yet those admissions came despite nearly half (49%) agreeing that having productivity would be boosted by a quick diagnosis backed by information on how to get better.

The survey findings also highlight that bosses can be pretty demanding when employees need to take time off for GP or hospital appointments, with a quarter saying they try to ask the employee what’s wrong in order to find out whether their condition is serious enough to warrant taking time off. Twelve per cent said they would ensure that employees who attend medical appointments during working hours to make up for the missed time. And 8% regularly ask employees to take half a day's holiday to cover the time.

Asked on their views on employees taking time off for sickness, only 28% of bosses said they felt that sick employees should take however long is needed for their treatment and recuperation. On the other hand 17% indicated that, although they were sympathetic to employees’ plight, they didn’t expect them to take more than three days off sick at a time.

Chris Horlick, Distribution Director at AXA PPP healthcare, said: “Time away from work due to sickness absence and medical appointments can be frustrating – both for employees and for employers. Seven out of ten of the bosses we surveyed agreed that providing healthcare benefits across the workforce can help reduce sickness absence, improve health and aid employee retention yet, in our experience, employers tend to provide medical insurance to senior managers only."