Average individual absence under 4 ½ days in 2016


    It is estimated that around 137.3 million working days were lost to sickness absence or injury in the UK in 2016, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is actually equivalent to around 4.3 days per worker each year, making it the lowest recorded average absence level since the ONS series began 24 years ago.

    Coughs and colds were amongst the most common reasons for absence in 2016, accounting for almost a quarter of the total number of workdays lost.

    Mental health issues, including stress, depression and anxiety, were the third most common cited reason for absence, which equalled just under 16 million workdays lost.

    Certain groups, including women, older workers, smokers, public-health-sector workers and those with long-term health conditions recorded the highest rates of sickness absence in 2016.

    However, many of these groups, including older workers and those in the public sector, were also among those showing the biggest reduction in absence rates over the past two decades according to the figures from the ONS.