Self-employed people pull less sickies

Self-employed people have a lower rate of sickness absence than salaried employees, according to the latest research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
An estimated 137 million working days were lost due to sickness or injury in the UK in 2016, equivalent to 4.3 days per worker, the lowest recorded rate since the series began in 1993, when the number was 7.2 days per worker.
In 2016 the absence rate was just 1.4% for the self-employed, compared to 2.1% for employees. Minor illnesses (such as coughs and colds) accounted for the most days lost due to sickness, with 34 million days lost (24.8% of the total days lost to sickness) followed by musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems) at 30.8 million days (22.4%). Mental health issues (including stress, depression, anxiety and more serious conditions such as manic depression and schizophrenia) resulted in 15.8 million days being lost (11.5%).
In 2016, the sickness absence rate was 1.9% in the UK. Sickness absence rates were highest in Wales and Scotland, at 2.6% and 2.5% respectively. They were lowest in London – at 1.4% – an area with a younger workforce and a concentration of high-skilled jobs, both of which tend to have low absence rates. Current smokers had a higher absence rate at 2.5% than for those who had never smoked (1.6%), according to 2015 data.
Commenting on the findings of the report, ONS statistician Brendan Freeman said:
“Since 2003, there has been a fairly steady decline in the number of working days lost to sickness, especially during the economic downturn. In recent years, there has been a small rise in the number of days lost, but due to an increasing number of people entering the workforce, the rate per worker and overall sickness absence rate have stayed largely flat.”