How many sick days do UK workers take each year?

01 September 2013

Almost a quarter of the working population has been off work due to sickness for periods longer than four weeks, new research reveals.

The study of more than 1,000 workers, carried out for employee benefits provider MetLife, shows that women are slightly more likely to have suffered a long-term illness, with 26% of female staff taking time off; compared to 21% of males. This totals 23% of Brits – or 6.7 million people – having been off sick for longer than a month.

This is a concern for anyone who employs staff, or runs a business, and there have been many studies conducted on the financial cost to companies. But having staff off sick for short or long periods obviously has a negative impact on any sized business, including a small practice, even if the staff include self-employed associates.

The need to have adequate provision in place for illness or injury is not just a concern for employers, but for everyone, whether employed or self-employed.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director of MetLife UK, said the findings are worrying since 41% of respondents admit they could not afford to live on Statutory Sick Pay which is currently £86.70 a week. Another 18% believe they could only survive a month.

Dentists’ Provident offer cover for income lost due to illness or injury for employed and self-employed dentists, and is currently paying long term benefits to around 150 of its 13,500 members, some of whom are only in their thirties.

David Jones Head of Member Services at Dentists’ Provident said “minor ailments such as the common cold or flu come as no surprise, and most of us expect to recover in a few days. Nobody expects to have a serious illness or accident that will stop them working for longer periods, possibly even permanently.  Dentistry is a physically and mentally demanding occupation, and many dentists suffer some form of illness or injury during their careers. Psychological and musculoskeletal health problems, and cancer treatment, can happen at any age and account for the largest proportion of long-term absence.  By protecting themselves against loss of income, our members have demonstrated they have thought about how they’d cope financially in the event of ill-health, and are not prepared to gamble it won’t happen to them. Some of our members will never be able to return to work and will receive benefits until they reach retirement age.”

Isn’t it time you reviewed what you and your team have in place to protect you from the financial and practical hassles of absence due to sickness?

This news release is intended for information only. It is not designed to give financial or medical advice, nor is it intended to make any recommendations of the suitability of our plans for a particular individual. Full details of our contract can be found in our rules. Dentists’ Provident Society Limited does not accept liability and responsibility for changes made to this information. Some of the information in this release has been obtained from third parties. While we believe the information to be reliable; we make no representations as to its accuracy and accept no responsibility or liability for any error, omission or inaccuracy in the data supplied by any third party.


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