Sick absences toll

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MORE than 75,000 employees in the North East were on sick leave for a month or more each year between October 2010 and September 2013.

More than 130 million days are lost to sickness absence every year in the UK, costing the economy £100bn a year.

The Health and Work Service has launched a new service to help employees who have been on the sick for four weeks to return to work and support firms to better manage sickness absence, which is hoped will save them £70m a year.