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UK staff off sick reaches record level

Unwell UK

Official statistics reveal the number of people unable to work in the UK due to sickness has reached a new peak.

According to the Office for National Statistics, approximately 2.6 million people, surpassing last month's figure of over 2.5 million, are currently facing long-term health challenges that prevent them from working.

This development coincides with a decrease in the UK unemployment rate, which now stands at 3.8 percent for the three-month period ending in April, down from the previous rate of 3.9 percent.

Read More: UK employers set to slash pay for staff working at home

Despite this positive trend, wage growth, while at its fastest pace since the start of record-keeping, is still not keeping up with the rising cost of living.

Darren Morgan, the ONS's director of economic statistics, highlighted basic pay has experienced unparalleled growth in monetary terms, except for the period when pandemic-related factors distorted the data.

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Nonetheless, wage increases continue to fall behind inflation.

Read More: UK Government task force to assess the role of the office vs homeworking

The UK economy is currently fighting challenges like surging living costs and increasing interest rates, which place considerable strain on households.

The job market demonstrates resilience, as the total number of people in employment has reached an all-time high in the three-month period ending in April.

The number of people who are neither in employment nor looking for work has dropped, but the number on long-term sick leave continues to rise.

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The ONS attributes this trend to mental health issues prevalent among younger individuals and the occurrence of back and neck pain, potentially caused by remote working arrangements.

Currently, for every 13 people at work, one person is on extended sick leave.

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