37% work through pain as they cannot afford to take time off

could not afford time offMore than one-third (37%) of employees have worked through pain as they could not afford to take time off, according to research by National Accident Helpline.

Its survey of 2,000 British workers also found that more than half of respondents have never taken a sick day during their career, while 28% have begun using remote working days as a substitute for sick days.

One-quarter of respondents said they have taken painkillers due to a work-related injury, while the same proportion reported having, or having had, computer vision syndrome, an umbrella term for eye problems developed from using screens for too long without taking a break.

When asked about working patterns, one-fifth said they spend more than five hours sitting down a day if they are working from home, while one-third sit down for more than five hours a day if they are in the office.

More than one-third do less than an hour of exercise a week, with 5% exercising less than once a week. One-fifth said they do not take or have any lunch at all, while the vast majority do not take more than 45 minutes for lunch.

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John Kushnick, legal operations director at National Accident Helpline, said: “This research paints a bleak picture of the health of workers in the UK. Nobody should have to choose when it comes to their health, but the reality is accidents and illnesses do happen. The UK’s current statutory sick pay is clearly forcing people into working, which can often lead to worse long-term outcomes.

“Rather than deterring people, raising the level of statutory sick pay can help more people get back on their feet and back into work more quickly, while employees who have suffered a work-related injury may be entitled to compensation to help them get back to where they were before their injury.”