UK sickness rates ‘a quarter of those in Germany’

Stock photo of a depressed person. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Stock photo of a depressed person. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Staff sickness rates in the UK have fallen to a quarter of those in Germany, a new study has found.

A survey of 1,500 German companies found that just over a quarter reported high levels of absenteeism compared to just 7% of the same number polled in this country.

Dr Wen Wang of Wolverhampton Business School said his research also showed that German companies have a higher proportion of workers on flexible contracts than the UK.

'Germany's ageing workforce and good employee protection measures create favourable conditions for high levels of workplace absenteeism.

'In contrast, the UK's working population is younger on average and companies often have more stringent measures in place on sick leave, making absence from work much less likely.

'However, low levels of unemployment in Germany at the time of the survey could also play a role in the findings. Unlike the UK, Germany experienced a consecutive fall in unemployment between 2004 and 2012, the period the data was collected.

'Employees in the UK may have been more cautious about being absent from work as unemployment grew to 8.5% in 2012, the highest level since 1997,' he said.

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