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Employee sick days at a record low

But mental health-related absence among young workers has risen
call in sick sickie

The number of sick days taken by UK workers has fallen to the lowest level since records began in 1993.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the average number of sick days taken by UK workers has almost halved from 7.2 days in 1993 to 4.1 days in 2017.

Data on the proportion of working hours lost due to sickness shows that since the financial crash a decade ago, sickness absence rates declined by 0.5% to 1.9% in 2017.

Absence rates were higher in the public sector than in the private sector last year, standing at 1.7% for the private sector and 2.6% for the public sector, the Evening Standard reported.

The ONS said higher sickness absence in the public sector is partly explained by the profile of the workforce.

“It employs more older people and women, both of whom tend to have higher rates of sickness absence. It is more likely to employ staff with a long-standing health condition who are more likely to go off sick, and tends to offer more generous sick pay arrangements,” it stated.

Health workers in the public sector showed the highest rate of absence due to illness, logging a sickness absence rate of 3.3%.

The data also found there was a rise in young workers, aged 25 to 34, who took time off due to mental health problems from 7.2% in 2009 to 9.6% in 2017.