Special Report

Workers Taking the Most Sick Days

4. Business Owners
> Number of days missed: 0.41
> Cost of lost productivity: $2 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 79.2%
> Job types: Contractor, store owner, entrepreneur

While business owners — which includes many self-employed workers — miss more days due to illness than those in the majority of other professions, the impact of these missed days is on the lower end. Like many professions, the health of business owners as a whole is a mixed bag. Just 20.5% of all business owners were considered to be obese, lower than any other profession except for physicians. However, business owners reported having higher rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cancer compared to most other professions.

Also Read:  The 10 Most Hated Companies in America

3. Nurses
> Number of days missed: 0.43
> Cost of lost productivity: $3.6 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 73.7%
> Job types: Licensed nurse, registered nurse

Nurses tend to be in pretty good health. Less than 74% of nurses were considered above average weight or reported having a chronic condition, lower than all but two other professions. Nurses, naturally, tend to have better health habits than the majority of people in other professions. Almost 65% of nurses indicated that they had at least five servings of a fruit or vegetables in four or more the prior seven days, more than any other profession. Similarly, more than 57% of nurses indicated they had exercised for at least 30 minutes in at least three days in the past week, compared to less than 55% people in all professions measured. Witters noted that nurses have less responsibility than doctors, giving them more flexibility to stay home when feeling ill.

2. Clerical or Office Worker
> Number of days missed: 0.44
> Cost of lost productivity: $8.1 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 76.5%
> Job types: Secretaries, bank tellers, postal clerks

Clerical and office workers were among the most likely to take time off from work due to sickness, taking 0.44 days off every month on average. On average, only workers in the service and farming sectors received worse scores for physical health. Among the clerical and office workers surveyed by Gallup, more than 19% said they lacked the energy to perform their usual activities during at least two of the past 30 days, lower than nearly all occupations.

1. Service Workers
> Number of days missed: 0.47
> Cost of lost productivity: $8.5 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 76.4%
> Job types: Police officer, barber, waiter

Service workers include waiters, barbers and landscapers, among others. Few in the service sector are particularly high earners. The median hourly pay for workers in all occupations was more than $16 an hour in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By comparison, the median pay per hour was just $8.81 for waiters, $11.45 an hour for barbers and less than $9 in food and beverage servicing. Not only are service workers generally paid very little, but they also often are employed in difficult work environments. According to evaluations compiled by Gallup, only transportation and manufacturing workers gave lower ratings to their work environments. In addition to difficult work conditions, service workers also received the worst grade for physical health.

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