Copyright Moore Barlow LLP (Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins merged May 2020)

Workers taking sick days drops to record low

Nearly 9 in 10 HR professionals have noticed that employees are spending longer at work than is required of them. This is thought to be a reflection of unmanageable workloads and employees feeling more insecure about their jobs. 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in 2017 employees took an average of 4.1 days off due to illness which is a significant drop from the average of 7.2 days taken in 1993. The ONS also reported that:

  • 34.5% of lost working hours were due to minor illnesses such as coughs and colds; 
  • 17.7% of absences were due to musculoelastic problems; and 
  • 7.6% of absences were due to stress, depression or anxiety.

Our advice

Often when people are genuinely unwell, they will not be productive at work. If staff feel that they cannot take time off, or are not able to work from home when they are suffering from coughs and colds they will only spread germs and debilitate a wider part of the workforce. Equally organisations need to consider how they can cultivate a culture that enables staff to seek assistance when suffering with conditions that, with adjustments to the workplace or working hours, do not preclude them from being able to work. 


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