Days lost through sickness absence fell to a record low of around four per worker last year, official UK government figures have revealed.
Coughs and colds were among the most common forms for absence among the 137 million working days were lost from injuries and illnesses, the Office for National Statistics revealed. Depression was also regular excuse for sickness time-off.
The figure is equivalent to 4.3 days per worker in the UK, the lowest rate since records began in 1993, when it was 7.2 days.
The total peaked at 185 million in the late 1990s and has risen slightly in recent years as the UK total workforce has increased.
Sickness absence rates were highest in Wales and Scotland, at 2.6 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively, and lowest in London, at 1.4 per cent.
Smokers had a higher absence rate at 2.5% than for those who had never smoked.
Here are the three most common causes for sickness absence in 2016, including number of days lost:
- Coughs and colds 34 million (24.8 per cent of the total)
- Musculoskeletal problems including back pain, neck and upper limb problems (30.8 million)
- Mental health issues including stress, depression, anxiety and more serious conditions such as manic depression and schizophrenia (15.8 million days)