£1.2bn cost of public sector employee absence

Public sector employees have almost three days more off work a year than private sector workers, figures from this year’s CBI/AXA Absence and Labour Turnover survey show.


Absence averaged 9.1 days per public sector employee and 6.4 days per private sector employee. This difference has continued year after year, with the gap widening from 2.0 days in 2003, to 2.7 days this year.

Although the public sector represents only 30% of the UK workforce, it accounts for 40% of the total number of working days lost to absence. If the public sector could reduce its absence rate to the private sector average, it would generate a saving of 20.1 million working days – saving £1.2bn.

The best performing companies average just 2.7 days absence, compared with 12.0 days for the worst performers. The survey questioned more than 520 organisations employing a total of 1.4 million employees.


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