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More people missed work this February due to illness than any February since 2001 - this according to a survey conducted by Hashavim HPS, of the Hilan Tech and Kav Manheh group.

Hashavim director Abie Meir said Monday that the flu, which this winter affected a record number of Israelis (and employees) was the cause of the high absentee rate. Meir noted that absenteeism was down slightly from January, which is the annual record holder.

The survey shows that work absenteeism during the first two months of 2007 as a result of the flu was the highest in the past seven years, and the damage caused amounted to NIS 370 million. In January, more men were out of work with the flu than women, while in February women were more affected than men.

The survey, based on data collated from 20,000 pay slips from workers throughout the private sector, also found that men over 40 were seldom called up for reserve duty and are disappearing from the ranks of reserve soldiers.