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Sickness Absence in the Labour Market, February 2014

Full Report from The Office of National Statistics

The key points are: 
  • 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013, down from 178 million days in 1993.
  • Minor illnesses were the most common reason given for sickness absence but more days were lost to back, neck and muscle pain than any other cause.
  • Sickness absence rates have fallen for both men and women since 1993 with men consistently having a lower sickness absence rate than women.
  • Sickness absence increases with age but falls after eligibility for the state pension.
  • Sickness absence has fallen for all age groups since 1993, but has fallen least for those aged 65 and over.
  • Lower sickness absence rates in the private sector but the gap with the public sector has narrowed over past 20 years.
  • Of the larger public sector organisations sickness rates are highest for those working in the health sector.
  • Self-employed less likely than employees to have a spell of sickness.
  • Largest workforces report highest sickness levels.
  • Sickness absence lowest for managers, directors and senior officials.
  • Sickness absence lowest in London.