Increased sickness absence recorded

The level of sickness leave dropped to an all-time low during the recession but has since risen, with more than 600,000 workers absent from work in the last quarter of 2010.

Findings revealed that nearly 613,000 employees took sick leave between October and December last year, leading to a loss of two million working days.

According to the report, 2.5% of those polled took time off work sick for at least one day in the week before they were surveyed.

Sickness absence rates have been consistently higher among women, while there was also a difference between men and women in the reasons for being off work.

Other than minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, the top reason for men to be off work was musculoskeletal problems, whereas the main reason for women was stress, depression and anxiety.

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