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The number of workdays lost to reserve duty has decreased by 80 percent in the past four years, according to a study by accounting firm HPS.

According to the figures, taken from wage slips of 20,000 private sector employees, while in the first half of 2002 absence of workers from their workplace averaged 1.31 days per month, by the first half of 2006 it had decreased to 0.26 days.

The figures also show that from 2001 to 2006 the number of days taken off work grew steadily, reaching 10.41 on average, compared to 8.45 in the first half of 2001 - a rise of 23 percent. Even so, absence from work in the first half of 2006 was still lower than in 2000, before the economic depression, when absence reached 10.46 days per worker on average.

Absence of women from their workplaces is lower than in the case of men: 9.4 days in the first half of 2006 on average, compared to 10.8 percent for men.

Women take 23 percent less time off now than in 2000, when absence averaged 12.35 days. Men, however, take off 15 percent more time now than in 2000.

Abie Meir, the CEO of HPS, said that with women's reduced job security, men have begun to replace them in the usual tasks for which women traditionally took off time from work, such as for staying home with sick children.