The number of US workers absent from work due to illness is at an all-time high and shows little sign of abating, The Guardian recently reported.
More than a million people have called in sick every month in the past three years, the report said.
In 2022, an average of 1.58 million workers were absent each month, and 19 million in total were absent last year, the highest number since records began in 1976.
The last time monthly absenteeism fell below 1 million was in November 2019.
According to the report, the reasons for this are related to the COVID-19 pandemic, long COVID, acute diseases and the need for workers to leave their jobs to take care of their families.
Long COVID is likely to lead to an increase in sick-leave rates; as such chronic illnesses may require workers to take more sick-leave.
Experts say more research is needed to know the cause and treatment of long COVID and there is still much uncertainty about its recovery.
Even those with mild or asymptomatic symptoms may still be infected with long COVID.
The report said workplace absenteeism rates in the US are likely to continue to be higher than normal.