Record 18.8 Million U.S. Employees May Miss Work Super Bowl Monday, Runaway Absence Sunday Night Also Likely

Annual spike in unplanned absence can be avoided if managers are more open and flexible

LOWELL, Mass. & WESTON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#SuperSickMonday–It’s a new record! An estimated 18.8 million1 U.S. employees may miss work the Monday after Super Bowl LVII, according to new research from The Workforce Institute at UKG, which has tracked this American phenomenon since 2005.


Nearly 2 in 5 U.S. employees (37%) admit to missing work or going in late on Super Bowl Monday at least once in their lives. Yet, despite so many people taking part in Super Sick Monday — including people leaders — more than a third of U.S. employees (35%) say they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking their manager for time off the day after the Super Bowl, with around 1 in 10 U.S. employees (11%) believing they’d be reprimanded just for asking.

The lack of transparency between employees and managers creates a mounting problem in the form of unplanned absence, lost productivity, and erosion of trust — a problem that could be tackled by more honest communication and greater workplace flexibility.

Workplace Trends to Watch:

Roughly 1 out of every 5 U.S. employees (17%) — an estimated 26.6 million people — are likely to miss at least some work on Super Bowl Monday, including a combined record-breaking 18.8 million1 U.S. employees not planning to go to work, and 7.8 million2 who plan to start work late.

On Super Bowl Sunday, an estimated 17.2 million3 U.S. employees say they’ve either made arrangements to get out of working, plan to fake sick, or will simply not show up for their Sunday night shift so they can watch the game.

An estimated 21.9 million4 U.S. employees may watch the game while at work on Super Bowl Sunday, and one-third of all U.S. employees (33%) — an estimated 51.8 million5 people — say they’ll be less productive than usual at work on Monday after the Super Bowl this year.

More than 2 out of every 5 U.S. employees (42%) believe the day after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday.

Employers Blindsided by Absence, Productivity Loss Due to Managers’ Failings to Be Open

While an estimated 10.9 million U.S. employees6 plan to take a pre-approved personal day the Monday after the Super Bowl this year, others will play hooky or, worse, blow off their employer entirely by saying:

I will “ghost” my work (i.e., not show up and not tell anyone I will not be working): 4.7 million7 U.S. employees

I will call in sick to work even if I’m not actually sick: 3.1 million8 U.S. employees

I will decide at the last minute what to do [about work]: 9.4 million9 U.S. employees

And it’s not just individual contributors who will be out: Nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. employees who manage other people plan to miss work or go in late on Super Bowl Monday this year. In advance of missing work (either part of the day or the whole day) on the Monday after the Super Bowl, just 6% of people managers plan to notify their direct reports or teams. Another 5% of people managers don’t have any intention to reveal their absence plans to their managers as they plan to “ghost” work completely that day, which is even more than individual contributors.10 This exacerbates a phenomenon that’s worsened over time, as an estimated nearly 2 million more people plan to “ghost” their employer on Monday this year, compared with The Workforce Institute’s 2021 study.11

[Read analysis from The Workforce Institute for how employers can avoid taking a loss on Super Bowl Monday.]

“Middle managers need to model the behaviors that they want to see from employees and treat their people the way they would want to be treated — that is to say, with authenticity and understanding,” said Dr. Jarik Conrad, executive director of The Workforce Institute at UKG. “We’re all human and all have lives outside of work. There are going to be times when we want to miss work to participate in a big cultural moment like the Super Bowl, to care for family members or cheer on our kids at their activities, or for something as small as taking your car in for repairs. When you empower your managers to have a stake in setting the tone for their organization — when you train them to model trust and accountability, and to demonstrate workplace values indicative of a great place to work — then that ripple will uplift your entire organization.”

This survey was commissioned by The Workforce Institute at UKG and conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 1,200 employed U.S. adults, most of whom work full-time (74%) at a physical workplace (60%) and identify as a people manager with at least one direct report (62%).

About The Workforce Institute at UKG

The Workforce Institute at UKG provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the world. By bringing together a global consortium of HR and workforce management thought leaders, the think tank is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with practical ideas for optimizing the 21st-century workplace while also providing an important voice for employees, including frontline and hourly workers. Founded in 2007, The Workforce Institute focuses its research and education — including books, podcasts, surveys, blogs, and its annual list of workplace predictions — on balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the interests of organizations in order to manage absenteeism, fight burnout, develop equitable work schedules, and build strong leaders, all to drive inspired performance.

About UKG

At UKG, our purpose is people. As strong believers in the power of culture and belonging as the secret to success, we champion great workplaces and build lifelong partnerships with our customers to show what’s possible when businesses invest in their people. Born from a historic merger that created one of the world’s leading HCM cloud companies, our Life-work Technology approach to HR, payroll, and workforce management solutions for all people helps more than 70,000 organizations around the globe and across every industry anticipate and adapt to their employees’ needs beyond just work. To learn more, visit ukg.com.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at UKG, January 26-30, 2023, among 1,270 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 3.2 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact tonya.eckert@ukg.com.

Footnote 1: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 12% of employed adults who may not go to work on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 18.84 million. A new record is set, as this is the largest number of planned absences projected since The Workforce Institute first commissioned this survey in 2005—though the question was altered YoY.

Footnote 2: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 5% of employed adults who are planning to start work later than normal on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 7.85 million

Footnote 3: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 11% of employed adults who may not go to work on Sunday during the time that Super Bowl LVII airs = 17.27 million.

Footnote 4: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 14% of employed adults who will be working on Sunday during Super Bowl LVII but plan to watch at least some of the game = 21.98 million

Footnote 5: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 33% of employed adults who will be less productive at work than usual on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 51.82 million.

Footnote 6: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 7% of employed adults who will take a pre-approved/personal day/PTO on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 10.99 million.

Footnote 7: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 3% of employed adults who are planning to “ghost” their workplace on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 4.71 million

Footnote 8: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 2% of employed adults who are planning to “call in sick” to work on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 3.14 million

Footnote 9: Calculation based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2022 report that estimates there are 157,033,000 employed people adults in the U.S.: 157,033,000 x 6% of employed adults who plan to wait until the last minute to decide whether to work on Monday after Super Bowl LVII = 9.42 million

Footnote 10: Five percent of people managers in the U.S. vs. a mere 0.40% of individual contributors in the U.S. are planning to “ghost” their workplace on Monday after Super Bowl LVII.

Footnote 11: Respondents were asked a similar question in January 2021. Results available here.

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