Britain should have shorter working hours and more bank holidays to stop stressed-out staff from taking “sickies”, software company Cincom claims.

Cincom managing director David Graham said: “Increasing bank holidays means that call centre agents can take legitimate breaks could address problems with staff attendance and churn.”

Graham said that the long hours worked by many call centre staff was damaging morale and productivity.

His comments come in the light of research by Cincom that shows 41% of companies with 500 employees are predicting a 25% staff churn rate.

The study also found that 78% of staff work more than 35 hours a week.