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HealthNew research shows 18 million days lost at work to mental health

New research shows 18 million days lost at work to mental health

New data reveals that 18 million days per year are lost at work to mental health conditions.

Personal injury experts – Claims.co.uk –  looked at the Office for National Statistics’ sickness absence data from 2018 – 2022 to reveal which demographics are most likely to miss work, and identify the most common reasons for doing so.

The results come in just as the nation prepares for Blue Monday (January 15) – a relatively new term which has been used to describe the third Monday in January as ‘the most depressing day of the year’.

Flu season

Every year, the UK workforce loses on average 146.6 million days due to sickness, which equates to approximately 4.5 days per worker – or almost a full working week.

And with snow set for next week, employers will pay particular attention to absences as workers contend with flu season, as well as post-holiday blues and holiday-related illnesses.

The study identified the main reasons workers call in sick – with minor illnesses like coughs and colds proving the main cause. An average of 33 million days is lost per year due to minor illnesses.

Mental health

Data also found that 12% of the working days lost were due to mental health conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety – making this 18 million days per year, on average.

On the other end of the scale, an average of 7.4 million days were lost with workers preferring not to give a reason.

The study also found that workers aged between 50 and 64 lose more days at work than any other age group, with an average of 56.3 million total days lost per year. Per worker, this works out to approximately 6.1 lost days annually.

Interestingly, the 16 to 24 age group have only lost an estimated 10.2 million days per year – which is 65.2% lower than the average. This equals 2.7 days lost per worker each year.

With regards to gender, women were found to call in sick for 2.6% of their working days a year – which is a 49.4% increase compared to men.

Detrimental effects

A spokesperson for claims.co.uk said: “Sick days lost from work can have detrimental effects on both workers and the company. For employees, frequent absences due to illness can result in increased stress and workload upon return, negatively impacting their overall job satisfaction and well-being.

“From the company’s perspective, a reduction in workforce attendance can lead to productivity losses and delayed project timelines. Given the contagious nature of minor illnesses, it’s no wonder they frequently lead to sick leave as they can spread quickly. Many are also left particularly vulnerable when commuting on public transport to work.”

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