A Danish study has found that going to work when sick significantly increases the risk of having to take long-term sick leave later. Researchers randomly selected a group of 12,000 Danes who had been working continuously for at least a year to answer questions on their attitudes to work, willingness to take time off when sick, and general health. The group was also asked how many times in the last year they worked while ill when they should have stayed home, and compared the answers with work records about periods of sick leave taken over the next 18 months. Employees who worked while under the weather at least six times were 53 per cent more likely to end up off sick for two weeks. Researchers say short periods off when sick help people cope with work stress. The study will appear in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.