Number of employees taking sick leave has reached a record high in the UK. On an average, employees reportedly took 7.8 days of sick leave. This is not just the highest since 2008 but also a lot higher than before the pandemic.
This data came from a research report by Simplyhealth and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
The increased sick leaves are definitely leading to challenges for employers when it comes to attracting or retaining talent. Add to it the issues arising from the tightening labour market.
What is worrisome is that in the last one year, more than 75 per cent managers have stayed away from work due to sickness arising from stress.
The increased sick leaves also indicate that more people are falling sick and for longer periods. As per the British Office for National Statistics, there was a loss of about 2.6 per cent of working hours owing to sickness or injury in 2022. This has been the highest in the last 14 years. This is equivalent to 5.7 days per worker.
On an average, employees of public-sector institutions took more than two weeks’ leave, which is more than double of what staff in the private-sector took. The sick leaves are more in larger organisations than in smaller ones, with over one fourth of the staff calling in sick because of stress. While 94 per cent were absent from work due to minor illness, 45 per cent were absent due to injuries and 39 per cent due to mental health issues.