When Are You Coming Back? Presenteeism in U.K. Prison Officers

Gail Kinman*, Andrew James Clements, Jacqui Hart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Presenteeism has negative implications for staff well-being and the safety of prisons, but little is known about its prevalence and causes. This mixed-methods study examines these issues among 1,682 U.K. officers. Most respondents (84%) reported working while sick at least sometimes, with 53% always doing so. Six linked themes were identified that underpinned presenteeism in the prison sector: punitive absence management systems, pressure from management, short-staffing and fear of letting colleagues down, job insecurity, fear of disbelief and shaming, and duty and professionalism. The implications of presenteeism for the health and job performance of prison officers are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-383
Number of pages21
JournalPrison Journal
Issue number3
Early online date21 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • health
  • job performance
  • presenteeism
  • prison officers


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