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Why the UK’s dire rates of sick pay bode ill for the economy

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EasyJet removing seats from its planes, Tui no longer serving meals on flights, and bus companies cutting services. From the headlines, Britain appears to have a big problem with sickness absence as Covid adds to staff shortages across the economy.But these incidents apart, the big picture is very different.

Thanks to low sick pay – now back to pre-Covid levels despite Boris Johnson’s promise to “build back better” from the health emergency – Britain has among the fewest working days lost to illness in the developed world.Sickness absence rose last year as the economy reopened, from a record low in 2020 when the pandemic reduced socialising and people could keep logging on from home despite illness.

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