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More than half of construction workers go to work ill as they can’t afford time off, says First4lawyers

More than half of property and construction workers are going into work ill or injured because they can’t afford time off, according to research by First4lawyers.

It says that statutory sick pay in the UK currently sits at £87.55 a week, forcing the employed into work ill or injured because they can’t afford to live otherwise. The average Brit’s monthly bills total around £850, however, with a statutory sick pay income of £350 a month this leaves the ill/injured off work struggling to find £500 a month to keep up with their finances.

Research also found that 61% of transport workers are going into work for ill/injured as well as a 73% of healthcare workers. The majority of these workers are on statutory sick pay and therefore avoid having time off. 21% of property and construction workers don’t get paid anything if ill however this is low in comparison to the brutal industry of performing arts.

94% of performing arts employees have gone into work ill or injured, which First4lawyers says raises concerns around their safety. It found that the majority of them receive zerosick pay, forcing them into work to be able to pay the bills.

With the EU Referendum on June 23 fast approaching, and potential changes taking place as a result of the outcome, the company claims that many Brits are turning to other European countries to compare the way they treat their workers.

If a Brit was to fall ill or injured and out of work for a month, they would only receive 15% of their monthly wage whilst Germany receive 100%. 

51% of employees receive no financial help towards their bills when living on statutory sick pay, however, those that do say they have the support of their partners. Those that don’t have this support are turning to loans from the bank or parents, or overdrafts.

According to the research, the average person has had eight and half days off ill per year within the last 12 months. Latest ONS data reveals that in total, 131m days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013, down from 178m days in 1993. This shows that numbers of days lost at work due to sickness is reducing, however this may be because people are now choosing to go in ill. First4lawyers says its data shows that the average UK employee spends nine and half days ill at work.

It’s not just pay that is forcing employees into work ill, 71% of UK workers say they are scared to have time off work ill/injured because they fear their employers’ opinion of them. 30% say their boss acts different toward them after asking for time off sick, and more than one in three say their employer does not support them during this time.

Minor illnesses were the most common reason given for sickness absence but more days were lost to back, neck and muscle pain than any other cause. Work related stress is also a cause for time of work - 17% of Brits have had to take sick leave because of it.

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