Workplace absenteeism down. Good news for employers, but bad for workers claims TUC.
Good news for UK employers: employees are calling in sick less often. The Office of National Statistics reports that the average worker now takes just 4.5 days because of illness or injury, compared with 7.2 in 1993. A total of 131m work days were lost in 2011, down 6m on the year before. Londoners are least likely to take time off (1.3% of total working hours), whereas employees in Wales and north east England called in sick at the rate of 2.5% of total working hours. The biggest causes of long term sickness absence are musculoskeletal disorders and stress.
The TUC's view was that these figures reflected increasing pressure on staff to come to work, even when they were ill - influenced by concerns over job security during the downturn. General Secretary Brendon Barber described the trend as "presentism" where workers come in when they are too ill.
However, the rise of social media is also thought to be playing its part, particularly amongst younger workers. The Facebook generation fear that if they are away from the workplace without good reason then photos might be uploaded to the social media site with them being tagged, in effect identifying them as being anything other than 'sick'.