UK working days lost to sickness fall to all-time low in 2013
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UK working days lost to sickness fall to all-time low in 2013

Last year, there were 131 million times when someone in the UK took a day off work due to sickness. This is the most enlightening – to HR jobs West Sussex providers, among many other organisations – statistic that was recently revealed by the Office for National Statistics and is an all-time low for the number of days taken off work in the UK within a year. The Office also released many more intriguing figures about corporate sickness rates last year and these figures have led experts to suggest that many people in the UK are increasingly resisting taking days off work due to fears of job insecurity.

Several interesting statistics about sickness rates

The aforementioned number of working days lost to sickness is a drastic reduction from the corresponding number of 178 million in 1993. Whereas the average number of sick days per worker in 1993 was 7.2, it was a much lower 4.4 last year. The biggest cause of sick days, which led to the loss of 31 million days, was musculoskeletal conditions like back and neck pain. The second biggest cause was minor illnesses like coughs and colds, which were responsible for 27 million days being lost.

Crucial reactions to the figures

Cary Cooper, a Lancaster University Management School professor, suggested: “People are turning up to work sick and the driver is job insecurity.” He added that they are “too scared to take a sick day” and asked: “If you are somebody who is not feeling well and should really stay at home, would you stay home when the climate at work is that people are losing their jobs?” John Philpott of The Jobs Economist website stated that “the underlying problem is likely to be worse” due to “the possibility that people may cite other reasons for absence due to mental health issues because of the social stigma attached to such conditions”.

Cooper added that fears of taking time off work for reasons of sickness had led to a culture of “presenteeism”, the growing of which the General Secretary of the British Trades Union Congress, Frances O’Grady, called a “real health threat”. She warned that the growing culture of sick employees being pressured by their bosses into attending work “can prolong illness, spread diseases and cause stress throughout the workplace”. We reckon that this should be strongly considered during the filling in of HR jobs Hampshire and West Sussex companies offer.

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