United Kingdom

Coronavirus UK: Sickness absence falls to record low after people worked from home, figures show 

Sickness absence has fallen to its lowest level on record amid lockdown, new figures reveal.

The coronavirus crisis helped cut absence rates as people worked from home or were forced to shield, a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

The ONS said the rate fell to 1.8 per cent last year, the lowest level since current records began in 1995.

Around 118 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in 2020, breaking down to 3.6 days per worker.

The coronavirus crisis helped cut absence rates as people worked from home or were forced to shield, a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed (file image)

The Covid pandemic may have led to additional sickness absence, but measures such as the furlough scheme, social distancing, shielding and increased homeworking appear to have reduced other causes, the ONS claimed.

Minor illness was the main reason for sickness absence in 2020, including coughs and colds, while coronavirus accounted for 14 per cent of the total figure since last April.

The highest sickness absence rate in 2020 was in Wales, at 2.2 per cent, 0.4 per cent higher than the UK rate.

London had the lowest sickness absence rate at 1.4 per cent. 

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