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London Workers Take Fewer Sick Days Than Rest of U.K., ONS Says

London workers took fewer sick days last year than employees in other regions, in part because the workforce is younger and there are more self-employed people, according to a report today.

The rate of sickness absence for the capital’s workers was 1.5 percent, compared with the U.K. average of 2.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics Office said. Wales, the East Midlands and the North East had the highest levels of hours lost, at 2.4 percent. In 2013, a total of 131 million days were lost due to sickness, down from 178 million in 1993.

London “has a younger workforce and more self-employed people,” the ONS said. “Both London and the South East also had a higher than average percentage of workers in the managers, directors and senior officials and professional occupations. These characteristics are associated with lower than average sickness absence rates.”

The number of self-employed people in the U.K. rose to a record in the fourth quarter, the ONS said last week.

Sickness absence was generally higher in the public sector and also higher for women, today’s data showed. In a workplace with more than 500 people, employees were more likely to have time off than companies with less than 25 workers. The ONS report also showed that most work days were lost last year because of back, neck and muscle pain than any other cause.

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