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Not so ‘Sick Note’ Britain?

by LLB staff reporter
23rd May 24 9:31 am

Research reveals Brits are working through pain as those leaving workforce through sickness hits record highs.

A huge number of Brits are working through pain, with a quarter reported to be taking painkillers due to a work-related injury, new research suggests.

The survey of 2000 British workers carried out by National Accident Helpline, which offers advice and support to people who’ve been injured through no fault of their own, found that a third of Brits are regularly working through pain as they cannot afford time off.

The research suggests while economic inactivity in the UK has hit crisis point, with record long sickness impacting 2.8 million Brits, not enough attention is being paid to the many Brits who are working with pain, which can often lead to worsening long-term conditions.

Surprisingly, over a half of Brits surveyed said they have never thrown a sickie in their career, while 28% said they have begun using remote working days as a substitute for sick days.

A quarter of those surveyed also report having or having had computer vision syndrome, an umbrella term for eye problems developed from using screens, often for too long without taking a break.

Key findings:

  • Over a third of Brits (37%) have worked through pain as couldn’t afford to take time off
  • Almost a third (28%) have worked from home when they should have otherwise used a sick day.
  • A quarter of Brits 26% have or have had computer vision syndrome.
  • Quarter have taken painkillers to work due to working through a work-related injury.
  • More than half of Brits have never thrown a sickie (56%).

John Kushnick, Legal Operations Director said, “This research paints a bleak picture of the health of workers in the UK. Nobody should have to choose when it comes to their health, but the reality is accidents and illnesses do happen, yet the UK’s current statutory sick pay is clearly forcing people into working, which can often lead to worse long-term outcomes.

Rather than deterring people, raising the level of statutory sick pay can help more people get back on their feet and back into work more quickly, while employees who have suffered a work-related injury may be entitled to compensation to help them get back to where they were before their injury.

While the UK is experiencing relatively high rates of sickness absence and ill health, it is clear the bigger picture includes the thousands of people who are still in work because they cannot afford to not be. Gig economy workers, for example, are particularly vulnerable.

Most people are unaware that while sickness pay lags behind normal wages, making a claim means that we can seek to recover their full loss of earnings, ensuring nobody is out of pocket”

Ahead of the general election in the UK, all eyes will be on which party, puts workers’ rights at its core, to tackle record sickness rates both inside and outside the workforce.”

When National Accident Helpline asked more about respondents’ working patterns, they found that a fifth of Brits spend more than 5 hours sitting down a day if they are working from home, while a third say they are sitting down for more than 5 hours a day if they are in the office.

A fifth of employees said they do not take or have any lunch at all , while the vast majority of Brits do not take more than 45 minutes for lunch.

It also appears that more than a third of those surveyed report doing less than an hour of exercise a week, with 5% saying they exercise less often than weekly.

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