UK workers have collectively taken off 78 million working days in the past 12 months, with some 13.9 million people having taken at least one day off due to sickness, research reveals.
A survey of more than 600 UK staff, by the Benenden Healthcare Society, also shows that 8% of respondents admitted to taking more than three weeks off sick in the past 12 months, totalling a loss of more than 30 million working days for their employer.
Women were more likely to take time off than men, with 54% of women having taken at least one day off, compared to 46% of men.
Meanwhile, younger workers between the ages of 16-24 were also more inclined to miss work due to illness, with 68% having taken off at least one day.
However, those aged 25-34 were likely to be absent for longer, with 12% or 890,000 of those in this age group having taken off more than three weeks in the past 12 months.
Jakki Stubbington of Benenden Healthcare said: “Most workers will need to take sick leave at some time and in most cases it will only usually last a few days. However, as the research shows, some employees are taking off far more time on an annual basis which can be costly to the employer.
“It is important for employers to address the issue of employee absence as it can be very costly. A healthy workforce is imperative for an establishment to maintain productivity.”