Sickness absence during 2021

ended 29. April 2022

The ONS has just published a report on sickness absence during 2021, which was the highest since 2010. Key points are:

  • The sickness absence rate in the UK in 2021 rose to 2.2%, from a record low of 1.8% in 2020; this is the highest it has been since 2010, when it was also 2.2%.
  • An estimated 149.3 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in the UK in 2021, equivalent to 4.6 days per worker.
  • The most common reason for sickness absence in 2021 was "other" conditions, including accidents, poisonings, diabetes and coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • COVID-19 accounted for nearly one in four of all occurrences of sickness absence in 2021.
  • The groups with the highest rates of sickness absence in 2021 included women, older workers, those with long-term health conditions, people working part-time and people working in caring, leisure and other service occupations.

Any thoughts, send them across ASAP!

3 responses from the Newspage community

"There's not a lot of surprises in the report considering that, in 2021, we were still very much in the pandemic, and following a previous year of very tough and unusual circumstances for everyone. What we should take away from these findings is that we need to ensure that the exhaustion and health issues clearly experienced by certain groups is not exacerbated through the assumption that we are 'getting back to normal'. If we do, we run the risk of this being an ongoing and potentially unmanageable burden on the health sector and supporting services."
"That the groups with the highest rates of sickness absence include women and carers is no surprise, given the widespread levels of stress women are experiencing, mainly because of the additional caretaking duties taken on during the pandemic. Deloitte has found that nearly half of women in the workplace feel burned out, and a third have taken time off work because of mental health challenges. Burnout is also the top driving factor for women looking for a new role against the backdrop of The Great Resignation. Women need employers to provide more emotional support, flexible arrangements and inclusive workplaces. Employers that invest in women's emotional support benefit from greater loyalty, engagement and productivity from the women in their teams. Propelelo makes it easy for smaller employers to access forward-thinking gender equality programmes with a complete ready-to-go solution."
"COVID-19 has been a key reason for sickness in my business. I have had two staff off on a long-term basis and I was due to interview another who also caught the virus. On days where I have no cover I have no choice but to close the boutique. It is very stressful as a business owner."