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Notes from underground

The London Underground sickness policy is a thing of beauty if you know how to work it—the genuinely ill suffer while the cunning get extra holiday

By Dan Kuper   February 2005

I was walking on the platform one morning when I slipped and jarred my back. I went to the supervisor’s office and told him what had happened. Then I sat there for a bit, complaining about the pain radiating down my legs.

“You don’t have to convince me, Daniel,” he said.

What I had accidentally hit upon was a way to go sick without falling foul of the draconian sickness policy—injure yourself at work. The underground, like most jobs populated by a coalition of the unwilling, has a problem with sickness. People are constantly going sick. Managers’ bonuses are higher…

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