UK workers are taking more sick days because they feel safer in their jobs

UK workers took an average of 1.85 days off for illness in the last year

Zlata Rodionova
Tuesday 03 November 2015 16:38 GMT

British workers are taking more days off for minor illnesses such as cold and flus, according to new research.

Far from that meaning we are getting more sickly as a nation, it could suggest a return to job security, according to Fisherman’s Friend, which conducted the research.

UK workers took an average of 1.85 days off for illness in the last year, a rise of less than one day from 2014 – when workers cited job security fears as the main reason for going to the office even when feeling ill.

Over the last year, younger workers took the most time off, with those aged 16 to 34 taking an average of 2.68 days off.

Social workers and human resources professionals were absent for the greatest number of day with an average of 4.65 and 3.21 respectively. Taxi and lorry drivers and shop assistants were the nation’s most stoic workers with an average of less than 1.5 days off.

“The good news for the economy is that with Brits still taking relatively few days off due to minor ailments, the cost of absenteeism is once again set to remain relatively low – at around £4.53 billion this year – although this is clearly higher than the £2.27 billion low we recorded from the findings of our last study,” said Rob Metcalf from Fisherman’s Friend.

Although the research suggests job security is improving, the numbers are far from the first survey in 2008.

Before the financial crash, workers took an average of five days off sick. In 2010, at the height of the recession, they took 3.2 days.

The study of more than 2,000 adults revealed that one in five workers still claimed they had actually had less time off than last year due to continuing fears over job security, while one in four said they were still reluctant to ask for time off for fear of people thinking they would let their colleagues down.

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