UK workers take twice as much time off as US counterparts

An average of 10 unscheduled absence days are taken each year by UK employees compared to only 5.5 in the US and in Asia only 4.5 the PricewaterhouseCoopers report revealed. Even Western Europe is better as a whole than the UK average, with an average of just under 10. Eighty percent of the absences are for sickness followed by jury duty and compassionate leave being the remainder.

In lost productivity British businesses are spending over £32 billion a year with the average salary in UK of £25,000 used as the barometer. Absenteeism has become a malaise in Britain as short term leave, if handed poorly turns into long term. There are often blurred lines between those that have a sickness or are sickie.

Disenchantment at the workplace has created exacerbated medical conditions and long term absenteeism. There are many times that absence is unavoidable but when employees see their fellow colleagues taking advantage of the system and taking unscheduled leave then their absence becomes more of a dilemma than a right and employers find that breaking that cycle can be very hard.

What is different in the US is that there is a culture of long hours working, which percentages say could cause sick leave, but because of less rigid labor laws in place in the US, employers can easily fire their underperformers.

Therefore many employees feel that there is more to lose if they do not go to work. Another incentive used in the US is adding gyms and other activity outlets for the employees to enjoy before work, after work or while on breaks and this gives them additional reasons to come to work and makes them healthier if they are working out.