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Worker Sick Days Down to Record Levels

How many sick days?

The Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) latest report into Sickness Absence in the Labour Market shows that although 137.3 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in 2016 (at an equivalent rate of 4.3 days per worker) this is the lowest since comparable records began in 1993 (when the rate was at 7.2 days per worker). In fact, there has been a general decline in sickness absence since 2003, not surprisingly most notably during the economic downtown.

Reasons for absence

Unsurprisingly, the most common reason for sickness absence last year were coughs, colds and other minor illnesses, accounting for about a quarter of the total days lost. Other common reasons include musculoskeletal problems (such as back pain, neck pain and upper limb problems) and mental health issues which we have previously discussed being an increasing issue for both employees and employers.

Some Statistics.....

What is the likelihood of being absent from work due to sickness or injury?

The likelihood of an individual being absent from work due to sickness or injury varies according to different factors such as age, sex, sector and seniority. Here are a few stats for you – the “odds” of reporting sickness absence in 2016 were:

  • 32.0% higher for women relative to men
  • 42.0% lower for workers aged 16 to 24, 31.0% lower for workers aged 25 to 34 and 24.0% lower for workers aged 35 to 49, all relative to those aged 50 to State Pension age1
  • 27.0% higher for workers in the public sector relative to workers in the private sector
  • 36.0% higher for workers in organisations with 500 and over employees relative to workers in organisations with less than 25 employees
  • 14.0% lower for managers and senior officials relative to those working in professional roles, but 80.0% higher for process plant and machine operative workers relative to professionals

Managing Absence

It's not just sickness that causes employees to be absent from work, it could also be other attendance discipline issues such as lateness and poor time keeping. Whatever the reason, you need to make sure you keep a tight hold on managing absence in your business.

Even though the levels of sickness absence are declining, at 137 million days a year, that's a lot of lost revenue. Are you worried about sickness absence in your organisation? Is it a Health & Safety issue, or something to do with employee morale? Contact Park City's experts today - we'll help you diagnose and remedy your workplace sickness in no time at all.

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Juliet Price is the Managing Director here at Park City and has extensive, specialist knowledge in HR, Health & Safety and staff development. Enter your question below and we'll be back in touch soon with an answer!

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