UK employees doubled their sick days last year, but not for COVID

·2-min read
The average Brit doubled the number of days they took off sick over the past year. Photo: Getty
The average Brit doubled the number of days they took off sick over the past year. Photo: Getty

Coronavirus didn't register in the top 10 reasons Brits took sick days over the past year, while sick days almost doubled. 

According to a new study by Instantprint the average number of sick days taken by UK employees across 2020 was four out of 256 possible working days, this figure had almost doubled from a previous survey which had revealed that UK employees called in sick an average of 2.6 days each in 2019.

This dramatic increase highlights that although Brits are less likely to call in sick across the board those who have needed time off this year have been requiring a more extended break to recover from their illness.

However, not everyone who’s calling in sick is doing so truthfully, as one in ten (9%) even said that they call in sick on a regular basis, despite not actually being unwell.

Coronavirus was also not voted as the number one "valid" reason for calling in sick. 

More people thought it was acceptable to call in sick with flu, than take time off for COVID-19, a close family death, or an A&E trip.

A fifth (22%) of those surveyed stated it would “take a lot” for them phone in sick, even in the wake of the pandemic.

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A third (33%) of Belfast residents admit that they regularly “pull a sickie” in order to bag an extra day off work, with Southampton (19%) and London (14%) joining them as the UK cities where residents are most likely to pull a sickie regularly.

Workers from Norwich (50%), Sheffield (50%) and Edinburgh (50%) were the UK cities where residents were found to be least likely to fake an illness for a day off, with half of those surveyed within each city stating that they “would never do so”.

Despite being faced with a global pandemic, COVID-19 was not found to be one of the top 10 reasons UK adults called in sick over the past year. Instead, the flu (22%), the sniffles (18%) and headaches and migraines (12%) were the most common causes behind sick days taken by UK employees over the past 12 months.

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