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Sick days from work fall to lowest level on record, new figures show

TUC warns poverty-level statutory sick pay could be forcing workers to work when they are ill

SICKNESS absence from the workplace has fallen to its lowest level on record, new figures revealed today.

The coronavirus crisis has helped cut absence rates as people have worked from home or forced to shield, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It said that the rate fell to 1.8 per cent last year, the lowest level since current records began in 1995.

The TUC said that the poverty-level statutory sick pay of £95.85 a week could be forcing workers to work when they are ill, because they cannot afford not to.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s vital workers can afford to take time off when they’re sick. 

“But the lack of decent sick pay in the UK is forcing people to choose between doing the right thing and being plunged into financial hardship.

“Ministers must stop turning a blind eye to this problem and raise sick pay to at least the real living wage of £320 a week. 

“And they must ensure that everyone has access to it.”

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