Sickness absence among UK employees continues to fall, with 45 per cent of workers taking no days off ill at all last year.
According to the EEF/Westfield Health 2011 Sickness Absence Survey, there has been a steady fall in sickness absence since 2007 due to the recession and employers' toughening stance on absenteeism.
The average UK employee took 5 days off sick in 2010, compared with 6.7 days in 2007, the report found.
Recessionary effects may have played a part, but the report authors stressed the downward pattern began before the recession.
The report found there was a clear correlation between those companies with strategies in place to train managers in sickness absence and falling absence rates.
One in five employers questioned said the recent introduction of the ‘fit note' had also helped them reduce absence.
Professor Sayeed Khan, chief medical adviser at EET, a manufacturers' organisation, said the continued fall in the figures reflects the efforts by companies and the government to get people back to work.
"It is also clear that doing the basics such as training line managers and GPs in managing sickness absence pays dividends," he said. "If we are to see the trend continuing to improve and the economic benefit to the UK economy this brings, it is vital that government continues to fund the training of GPs in health and work issues."
Jill Davies, chief executive of health insurance provider Westfield Health, said: "The workforce is an employer's most valuable asset and the falling sickness absence rates show that the right steps are being taken to continue this positive trend - but there is still plenty to be done."
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