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PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - Workers in southern Europe have the lowest rates for sickness absence in the European Union (EU) while their counterparts in northern Europe have the highest, researchers say.
The rates are defined as the proportion of the employed national workforce who had taken at least one day off work in the previous 12 months because of sickness or occupational injury.
The average proportion across the EU was 14.5 percent.
Greece had the lowest rate, of 6.7 percent, followed by Ireland (8.3 percent), Portugal (8.4 percent), Italy (8.5 percent), Britain (11.7 percent), Spain (11.8 percent), Denmark (12.4 percent) and France (14.3 percent).
The countries with the highest rates were Finland (24.0 percent), the Netherlands (20.3 percent), Germany (18.3 percent), Luxembourg (17.4 percent), Sweden (17.0 percent), Austria (16.0 percent) and Belgium (15.6 percent).
Men were also likelier than women to take days off work for sickness, although the opposite was found in Sweden and Finland.
The study, based on data among 16,257 randomly chosen employees, is published in the British journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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