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28th January 2021


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Construction workers' sick days revealed

Employees working in construction have taken more time off work due to serious injuries sustained on the job than almost any other industry. Some 38% of construction workers recently surveyed had taken time off work because of a major injury while doing their job, compared to an average of just 19%. The only industry to rank higher is transport at 47%.

In fact 30% of construction workers have been off work for a month or more. The biggest impact of taking time off work was loss of income for 62% of those surveyed admitting to this fear. Some 28% were concerned that they wouldn't be able to pay the bills if off work for a month or more. Despite this, only one in six workers have any financial protection insurance.

The research, commissioned by family focussed insurance company 'There' found that out of the 20 industries researched, construction was the fourth highest at viewing illness and time off work as a sign of weakness... So much so that 43% of workers have needed a sick day but felt unable to take one as their boss wouldn't understand. The same number experience guilt at taking time off for being poorly or injured.

Philippa McLaglen, marketing manager at There explains: "Our research shows that construction is a hard working industry that feels the pressure when having to take time off work and doesn't do so lightly."

Some 40% of workers dread having to make the call to their boss to tell them they are sick. A quarter admit to putting on a 'sick voice' if ringing in to get the day off work. And more than a quarter (27%) admit to getting their parent or partner to phone in sick on their behalf.

Workers typically take 2.8 sick days a year, fairly close to the average of 2.5. This ranks construction as tenth for the number of sick days taken.

Flu and stomach bugs are the most likely causes of time off. Interestingly construction workers are least likely to take time off for headaches or migraines (just 6%) which is a stark contrast to the voluntary and healthcare sectors where 28% of respondents take time off work for this complaint.

"It's ironic that we worry about taking even one day off sick when so many of us have experienced what it's like to be laid up and not able to work for a month or more," adds Philippa. "That situation can have a very real financial impact if wages aren't coming in. Especially for people who are self-employed and don't have a financial safety net.

"With financial protection, anything is better than nothing to pay the bills if you get injured and can't do your job. Our 'Too ill to work' insurance is designed to pay out if someone does injure themselves, like breaking an arm or leg, and can't do their job for a while."

Average sick days taken per year across industries:

- Leisure, Cultural and Sporting Activities - 3.8
- Agriculture - 3.7
- Research - 3.44
- Telecoms - 3.35
- Marketing (e.g. Marketing Consultancy, Advertising, PR) - 3.2
- Education (Teachers, lecturers) - 3.17
- Health (Nurses, GPs, social workers) - 3.09
- Design (e.g. Fashion, Graphic Design, Product Design) - 3.05
- Media and Publishing - 3.01
- Construction - 2.8
- Finance (e.g. Banking, Insurance, Accountancy) - 2.72
- Computing, Electronics - 2.72
- Environmental Services (e.g. Sustainability, Recycling, Alternative Energy) - 2.71
- Government, Public Services - 2.63
- Engineering - 2.52
- Travel and Tourism - 2.5
- Utilities (e.g. Gas, Electricity etc) - 2.44
- Entertainment (e.g. Music, Film, Theatre) - 2.32
- Hospitality (e.g. Accommodation, Restaurants, Fast Food) - 2.23
- Retail - 2.2
- Transport and Distribution - 1.94
- Legal - 1.9
- Voluntary Sector (e.g. Charities, Membership Organisations) - 1.87
- Property - 1.73
- Industry (e.g. Manufacturing, Heavy Industry) - 1.59


2nd October 2015

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