UK sick notes drop to record level

From Daily Telegraph: 15 July 2013: UK sick notes drop to record level

Absenteeism has fallen to a record low and could be even lower if the public sector was able to match the improvement in private business, says a report out.
The average absence rate last years was down to 5.3 days from 6.5 days in 2010, saving businesses £3bn.

Overall, non-attendance is still costing the economy £14bn a year, according to data produced by the CBI and Pfizer.

Mental problems such as depression were cited as the most widespread cause of absenteeism. Almost £1.8bn was lost from an estimated one in eight sick days taken as an ‘occasional perk’.

The report maintains that more than £1.2bn a year can be saved if public sector absence levels were brought in line with the private sector average, on top of the £700m saved over the past two years.

Neil Carberry, CBI director of employment and skill, said:

“The record low show employers are getting much better at tackling the root causes of absence.”

But research from business advisers PwC shows sick days alone are costing British businesses almost £129bn a year because workers are taking more than four times as many days off work as their counterparts in Asia.