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Britons report more sick days than other Europeans

London: Britons put out 35 million sick notes every year, more any other European country, and the culture is costing the economy billions of pounds in lost production, benefits and health care.

The soaring absence rate in Britain is equivalent to every worker taking at least one day off. Almost half of Britons who work in the property industry pulled off a sick day, compared to just 2.5 percent in the legal sector.

Many staff do not take a single sick day but other healthy colleagues are letting them down by taking several weeks a year. Only 52 percent of Britons take a sick day for a genuine physical or mental illness

The Confederation of British Industry has put the cost of all sick days in 2009 at a record 16.8 billion pounds - equal to about 595 pounds for every worker, with fake sick days costing 2.5 billion pounds, a news daily reported.

European workers take around 122 million sick days a year. Denmark, which has the most "honest" workforce, accounts for just four percent, the research by Aon Consulting said.

The study polled 7,500 workers in Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland.

"More than 35 million days taken as fictitious sick leave is costing the British economy many, many millions of pounds. These are probably conservative figures, considering the number of people who don`t admit to faking sickness," Peter Abelskamp, director of health and benefits at Aon Consulting, was quoted as saying.

IANS

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