Wellbeing

UK absence rate falls to all time low of 1.8%

Since April 2020, the coronavirus has accounted for 14% of all occurrences of sickness absence

The UK sickness absence rate fell to just 1.8% in 2020, the lowest recorded level since the data time series began in 1995, according to latest data from the ONS.

Since April 2020, the coronavirus has accounted for 14% of all occurrences of sickness absence

Sickness absence rates fell for both sexes with the ONS revealing that it has been “consistently lower” for men than women.

Women lost 2.3% of their working hours in 2020 as a result of sickness or injury, in comparison with 1.5% for men.

Over the decade the sickness absence rate for women (0.5 percentage points) has been falling at a “faster rate” than men (0.3 percentage points).

The sickness absence rate has also fallen for all age groups between 16 to 64 years in the last decade. The only age group to see an increase over the decade was those aged 65 years and over, which saw its 0.4 percentage points increase to 2.8% in 2020.

Furthermore, sickness absence rates for workers within the public and private sectors stood at 2.7% and 1.6% respectively in 2020.

Since April 2020, the coronavirus accounted for 14% of all occurrences of sickness absence.

The ONS claimed that the sickness absence rate for public sector employees has been “consistently higher” than that for private sector employees.

Both sectors have seen an overall decrease since 2010, although the sickness absence rate is falling at a faster rate for the public sector (0.4 percentage points) than the private sector (0.3 percentage points).

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