UK employers suffer almost one million long-term sickness absences each year, according to official government statistics released today.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) analysis showed there were an estimated 960,000 instances of employees being absent for at least four weeks a year between October 2010 and September 2013.
The research also found that 53% of long-term absentee employees said either musculoskeletal (33%) or mental health (20%) were the cause of their absence.
Overall, these accounted for 19% and 8% (27% in total) of all forms of employee absences.
Employees with pre-existing disabilities appeared more likely to take a period of long-term absence - two thirds (62%) of long-term absentee employees had one or more long-term health conditions compared to 26% of the employee population overall.
And the impact of age was also noted, with employees over 50 accounting for 46% of long-term absence compared to 27% of the total employee population.
In all, three-quarters (76%) of all long-term absence applied to workers in one or both of these categories (compared to 41% of the employee population) while a third (32%) of long-term absentee employees fitted into both these categories, (compared to 11% of the employee population).
The statistics were largely taken from the Labour Force Survey, October 2010 - September 2013.
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