Brits Take 2 Million Sick Days In Three Months

24/02/2011 10:18 | Updated 22 May 2015

When many of us feared for our jobs as the recession took hold, rates of workers taking days off sick dropped to an all-time low. Whether it was a case of not taking a sneaky sickie when we felt like it or forcing ourselves to go into the office even when we were poorly, nobody really knows.

woman-in-bed-illness-work-leaveNot feeling well? Statistics suggest more of us are staying in bed. Photo: Getty

But according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, sick leave is on the up again, with around 613,000 of us taking a total of 2 million days off sick in the last three months of 2010.

So what kept most people off work at the end of last year? The top reasons included coughs and colds - which you might expect at that time of year. But women were more likely to take time off because of stress, depression and anxiety, while men phoned in sick because of musculo-skeletal problems such as a bad back.

Altogether, 2.5 during the first three months of 2009. But we're nowhere near calling in sick as often as we did in 2000, when 3.4% of us took sick leave.

So are we now less worried about taking time off and how that might affect our keeping or losing our jobs? And if so, isn't that a good thing, especially when we're too ill to do our jobs properly (or when we have an illness that might spread to other workers)?

Or are we simply getting back to our old habit of throwing a sickie when all we really want is a lie-in?

What do you think?

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