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13 Mar 2017

Lowest UK sick day rates since records began

Figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed that last year, workers in the UK reported the lowest level of sickness absence since records began in 1993, the Guardian reports.

According to the data, around 137 million working days were lost due to illness or injury in 2016 – the equivalent of 4.3 days per person. As analysts have pointed out, that´s the lowest rate since 1993, when the sickness rate was 7.2 days per worker.

The most common reason for workers calling in sick was minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, accounting for nearly a quarter (34 million) of lost working days in 2016. This was followed by musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck and upper limb pain, making up 22.4% of days lost.

Mental health problems such as stress, depression and anxiety – and more serious conditions such as schizophrenia and manic depression – were also a concern, resulting in 15.8 million lost working days last year.

The number of working days lost as a result of sickness peaked in the 1990s, reaching 185 million. This dropped to a 132 million low in 2013, before rising again in 2014 and 2015. However, this could be due to an increase in the working population, says the ONS.

Commenting on the findings, Frances O´Grady – general secretary at the TUC – noted that people in the UK are more likely to go to work when ill than stay at home when well. She also highlighted the fact that working people “put in billions of pounds´ worth of unpaid overtime each year.”

Copyright M2 Bespoke 2017

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