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Not present and correct The silly season saw an outburst of concern over the level of absenteeism in Britain. Sickness and unauthorised absence from work was alleged to be costing the country £12bn a year, or 1.1 per cent of GNP. Some level of economic loss from genuine illness has to be expected – and it is unlikely that this would ever fall below 1 per cent (meaning that every day would see 99 out of 100 people at their jobs).

Perhaps outrage at an average loss of six days per employee a year, which means that 97 out of…

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