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Lie detectors to combat 'sickies'

Published 13 May 2008
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ie detectors could one day be used to spot people who are "pulling a sickie" from work. The technology is already being used to identify people making fraudulent benefit claims.

After successful trials at seven councils, anti-fraud minister James Plaskitt announced plans to extend the scheme. Now employers have given a cautious welcome to the idea of using the Voice Risk Analysis (VRA).

Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said the technology could be very useful. She said research from the CBI and insurance firm AXA showed that employers believe 12% of absence was not genuine.

The technology works by identifying changes in a caller's voice which may indicate they are not telling the truth.

Lawrence Knowles, managing director of software and outsourcing firm Midland HR, said: "If lie detectors can detect benefit fraud, then why not look at the application of the technology in absence management? If you know there is a lie detector on the other end of the phone, I'm pretty sure most people would think twice."

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