People returning to work early after sickness due to money worries

Almost half of workers in the UK (44 per cent) who have been off sick have returned to work early due to financial concerns, according to new research…

Almost half of workers in the UK (44 per cent) who have been off sick have returned to work early due to financial concerns, according to new research from LV=.

The study found the average adult spends almost a year – 360 days – off sick in their lifetime. With around 252 working days a year, this equates to almost a year and a half of their entire working life.

According to the latest statistics, 131 million days are lost every 12 months in the UK due to sickness absences, which works out at six days per person. 

Worryingly, over 13 million of these were a result of stress and depression. Indeed, the research, which was conducted among full-time workers, reveals the conditions are two of the most common long-term illnesses affecting working people in the UK today. 

Workers who have suffered from stress or depression during their working lives say they took an average of two and a half months (81 days) off to recover.

As finances get squeezed and daily living expenses rise alongside rent and energy bills, it is likely the mental health of people will not improve anytime soon.

People will naturally need to take time off work when they are feeling unwell, but it is concerning that so many choose to return to work early as a result of money concerns.

More than a third of individuals (36 per cent) do not receive sick pay cover from their employer, which means that more than 7.8 million workers would only qualify for statutory sick pay of £86.70 per week if they fell ill.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average wage in the UK is £26,664 so an employee suffering from stress and depression who only receives statutory sick pay could stand to lose up to £4,671 – a sixth of their salary (18 per cent). Considering this, it's no wonder so many people drag themselves in when unwell.

This also has an impact on the economy as workers who are sick could actually do more harm than good by continuing to work, as they can make mistakes and pass on viruses to other members of staff.

By Joe White

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