Issue date
25 Feb 2014

Commenting on figures published today (Tuesday) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which show that the average number of days lost to sickness absence has fallen by almost 40 per cent since 1993, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“These figures prove that there is no such thing as a ‘sickie culture’, with the number days lost to ill-health falling as employers get better at managing sickness absence.

“The real health threat we face is the growing culture of presenteeism – where unwell staff are pressurised into coming work by their bosses. This can prolong illness, spread germs and cause unnecessary stress throughout the workplace.

“Many of the main reasons why people take time off, for example to cope with back pain and stress, are actually caused by work. If we want to see sickness levels brought down even further, we should be concentrating more on how to prevent these problems.”


- The ONS statistics on sickness absence are available at

- The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight from Monday 24 March to Sunday 6 April. It will be a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about falling living standards.

- All TUC press releases can be found at

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews


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