This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charity sector sees a big rise in those going off sick


The number of sick leave days taken in the NGO/charity sector has risen by eight per cent in the past year

New analysis of over 1,700 organisations has revealed that those in the NGO/charity sector have seen one of the biggest rises in sick leave over the past year.

The Sick Leave Report 2024, conducted by HR systems specialist Access PeopleHR, that the average UK business reported 128 days of sick leave in 2023 - up six per cent compared to 120 in 2022, and up 55% since 2019.

Overall, the number of sick leave days taken in the NGO/charity sector has risen by eight per cent in the past year, from 134 days of sick leave in 2022 to 145 in 2023.

The industry has also seen sickness leave skyrocket over the last four years, with a growth in absence of 58 percent since 2019.

There are no Scotland-specific figures available.

The research suggests that those who are more customer-facing, and less office-based are likely to report the biggest growth in sickness absence, since they are less likely to rely on the ability to work remotely.

However, increased absence could also be a cause of deeper issues such as burnout, stress or a general rise in sickness, either industrially, or on an individual or company-by-company basis. This could be partly due to employees in the UK not using all their annual leave entitlement, with days of holiday taken dropping by 7.6% from 2022-2023, increasing the likelihood of burnout, stress, and sick leave taken as a result.

Charles Butterworth, managing director of the People Division at The Access Group, said: “This new report into the status of sick leave in the UK highlights the importance of a robust HR strategy for businesses when it comes to reducing sick leave. This could involve having clear policies and procedures, offering tangible support to those that appear to be taking excessive sick days and implementing a HR system to provide better absence management.

“This growth of sick leave in the NGO/charity industry could be due to a number of factors, such as experiencing more burnout and long-term sickness since the increased return to office based work in 2023, with the most common industries reporting growths in sick leave being less likely to work remotely - namely those in the arts, real estate and retail industries.”

You can find the full research here: 



Be the first to comment