Women take more sickness absence than men, according to new research


Data from the European Health Interview Survey has revealed women take more sickness absence than men.

According to the research, 36% of women said they took some form of sickness in the last year, compared to 28% for men.

Gender differences in sickness are well documented. Two years ago, research found men were more likely to take a day off because of a headache than women (for men, headaches comprised 44% of sickies, compared to 34% for women).

This latest data puts the ‘sickie gender gap’ at 28%, meaning men take 14 days’ a off a year due to health reasons, compared to the 16 for women. However some suggest the difference is actually down to women having to claim sickness in order to meet their childcare needs.

The European Health Interview Survey casts further light on the reported health of British workers. It finds the majority (75.8%) of the UK population report being in 'good' health, while 81.7% of men and 84.5% of women say they are non-smokers.

However, the data also finds 57.6% of men and 51.2% of women had a BMI of greater than 25, classifying them in the overweight, obese or morbidly obese categories. Only 40.6% of men and 45.6% of women were in a healthy weight zone.