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New findings on UK sickness absence rates released | Adam McCulloch

People who are able to work at home have recorded the UK’s lowest sickness absence rates, analysis has found.

Among other key findings by Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre, which compared absence rates across the UK, was that the sickness rate for workers in Wales had increased to 3.6% of working days between 2019 and 2022.

More workers in Northern Ireland called in sick in 2022 than in any of the previous eight years, the study also revealed.

In England the sickness rate was 2.5% in 2022; Scotland’s was 3% and Northern Ireland’s was 2.7%.

Overall, said Sickness Absence Lessons for Northern Ireland Businesses and Managers, UK staff took an average six sick days in 2022 (2.7%) compared with 4.2 days (1.9%) in 2019.

The lowest absence rates in the UK (1.4%) were among workers who were able to work at home.

The report said the top reasons across the UK for calling in sick were accidents, poisoning, infectious diseases and skin disorders, accounting for 26%. Minor aliments, including coughs, colds and gastrointestinal illnesses, accounted for just under a quarter of days lost (24%).

Senior economist at the policy centre Gillian Martin said the increased rate of workers being absent was because many people had a long-term health condition. The ageing population was another factor.

She said that in Northern Ireland, for example, in 2022, 5.1 million days were lost due to sickness, up from 3.8 million in 2019, adding that the rise in long-term conditions and the…

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