Fewer sick days as workers for fear for jobs


Unemployment in the UK has now reached 2.38 million - the highest since 1995, while the unemployment rate is up to 7.6% - the highest in over a decade.

These statistics have led workers in the UK to take less sick leave for fear of losing their jobs amid the recession.

In its latest Absence Management Survey of 600 companies, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that workers in the UK took on average 7.4 days off in 2008 - a cost of more than £17 billion to the economy.

Private sector workers took an average of 6.4 days off because of sickness in 2008, down from 7.2 days the previous year. Public sector workers took 9.7 days off due to illness in 2008, down from 9.8 days the previous year.

According to Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD: “It appears that the recession has contributed to a fall in the overall level of employee absence, with private sector absence levels at the lowest levels ever recorded by the CIPD absence management survey. It is disappointing that public sector absence levels remain so high.”

It must be noted that the survey was carried out prior to the outbreak of swine flu.

In related news, figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the extent to which firms are having to cut costs as a result of the recession.

According to the ONS, in the three months to May, 927,000 people said they were being forced to work part-time because they cannot find a full-time job.

This is an increase of more than a third on a year ago and represents the highest number since the ONS started gathering the data back in 1992.

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