January is the month with the highest number of sick days taken by employees in the UK according to research from CharlieHR

Absenteeism was 53% higher than the average for the other 11 months of the year (816). The winter months are the most popular for sick days, with February and March close behind.

A recent report by the Office for National Statistics suggests that the main causes for sick days in the UK were minor illnesses – coughs and colds closely followed by musculoskeletal problems – such as back and neck pain. Mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety were also responsible for many absences.

Whilst employers have no control on employees becoming ill outside the workplace, they can create a culture where reasonable working hours and as little stress as possible can help towards a healthy work-life balance.

Sickness absence can have a huge impact on your business – especially if you have limited resources. Whatever your size, it is essential to recognise that managing sick or disabled employees raises legal issues and will expose you to the risk of claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination, negligence or breach of contract if not done correctly.

You can read more about how to keep out of trouble here.

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