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Sick leave levels in UK continue to decline

Sickness absence amongst UK workers has fallen again, with six million fewer days lost last year compared to 2010, official figures show.

Around 131 million working days were lost in 2010 at an average of four-and-a-half days per worker, said the Office for National Statistics.

The figures compared with 178 million lost days in 1993, when records began, at an average of more than seven days per employee.

The number of working days lost through sickness remained constant through the 1990s until 2003 and has fallen since.

The percentage of hours lost through sickness has fallen from 2.8% in 1993 to 1.8% last year.

The most common reasons given for sickness in 2011 were minor illnesses such as coughs and colds, while the greatest number of working days lost was due to back, neck and upper limb problems.