New survey finds Northerners are the most likely to ‘pull a sickie’ at work

Course we have.

Harry Quick Harry Quick - 11th January 2024

A new survey has revealed the UK regions which are most likely to call in sick at work… or ‘pull a sickie’, if you will.

And it seems us Northerners are a big fan of it.

It’s our first few weeks back at work after the festive break, and let’s be honest, you’d be lying if calling in sick one day hadn’t crossed your mind by now, especially when the early-morning alarm was ringing in your ears.

If that’s you, don’t worry as new research has suggested that regionally, the North West ranks in fourth place for likeliness to call in sick to work compared to anywhere else in the country.

The study from personal injury experts analysed the Office of National Statistics (ONS) sickness absence data from 2018 to 2022, and they identified a range of demographics – which recorded where, when, and why Brits are prone to ‘pulling a sickie’.


Every year, the UK workforce loses on average 146.6 million days due to sickness, which equates to approximately 4.5 days per worker, or almost a full working week, and in January especially, employers pay particular attention to absences, as workers often contend with flu season, as well as post-holiday blues, and holiday-related illnesses.

Understandably, there’s no way to record how many of these requests were genuine or whether they just fancied hitting snooze for an extra three hours on a Monday morning after a heavy weekend… but hey, we’ve all been there, right?


In our corner of the country, people in the North West are losing a combined 16.5 million working days a year, which equates to a slightly above-average 4.7 working days per person.

Taking the top spot is the North East, with 5.1 days lost annually, while the the East Midlands finished in a close second with 4.9 days off per year, and then just marginally-ahead of the North West in third place was Yorkshire and Humberside on 4.8 days lost.

The North West has placed four on the list of UK regions / Credit: Jose Losada (via Unsplash)

When we break down the stats, there’s some interesting variables that people might not expect.


You’d think the age group most likely to ring in sick would be the youngest, but it turns out that’s not the case, as the young’uns are only losing an estimated 10.2 million days per year – which is 65.2% lower than the average, and instead, with an average of 56.3 million total days lost per year, it’s the 50 to 64-year-olds who come out on top.

Read more:

Research also shows the highest-cause of sick leave is due to minor illnesses, like coughs and the common cold.

Featured Image – Elisa Ventur (via Unsplash)