Sick days cost UK businesses £29bn a year according to new research
19 July 2013
Sick days are costing UK business nearly £29bn a year as UK workers take more than four times as many days off work due to sickness as their global counterparts, according to new research by PwC.
The research found UK workers have an average of 9.1 days off from their jobs each year due to sickness. This is nearly double the amount workers in the US take at 4.9 days of sickness a year, and four times more than their counterparts in Asia Pacific (2.2 days) and higher than Western Europe (7.3 days).
PwC’s research shows that sickness accounts for around 90% of UK companies’ absence bill, which also covers compassionate leave and industrial action.
The analysis reveals that while UK employees are taking less unscheduled absence days compared to two years ago (9.8 days in 2013, compared to 10.1days in 2011), the number of these days that are due to illness has risen over that time (9.1 days in 2013, up from 8.7 days in 2011) and so the associated cost of staff sickness has also risen.
Sick days now account for £28.8bn of the UK’s overall £31.1bn absence bill.
PwC analysis shows that all countries have managed to reduce their overall absence levels, but UK businesses have made the least progress amongst their global counterparts.
Jon Andrews, human resources consulting leader at PwC, said:: “UK companies are still far behind their global counterparts in minimising the impact of sick days on their businesses. It is worrying that UK workers continue to take considerably more sick days than any other global workers.
“The combination of more flexible labour laws and a cap on the number of paid sick days in the US and Asia goes some way to explain their lower levels of absence. For workers in the US and Asia, there is a sense that there is more at stake if they take unscheduled time off work.”
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