This equated to 4.3 days per worker, the lowest number since records began in 1993, when the average was 7.2 per worker.
In 2016, the overall sickness absence rate (the proportion of working hours lost due to sickness or injury) in the UK was 1.9%, down slightly from 2% the previous year.
Coughs and colds were cited as the main reason for workers taking sick leave, with 34 million days lost (24.8% of the total). This was followed by musculoskeletal disorders, which accounted for a loss of 30.8 million days (22.4%). Mental health issues, including stress, depression, anxiety, manic depression and schizophrenia, resulted in 15.8 million days lost to sickness (11.5%).
Genito-urinary problems in women, such as urine infections and pregnancy-related issues, accounted for 4.7% of absences.
The ONS found the groups with the highest rates of sickness absence were women (2.5% compared with 1.6% for men), older workers, those with long-term health conditions, smokers, health sector workers, those in large organisations and part-time workers.
Those in senior posts, such as chief executives, financial managers and directors, had the lowest rates of sickness absence (1.1%), followed by those in professional roles, including civil engineers, medical practitioners and legal professionals (1.7%).
In contrast, workers in the caring and leisure sectors, and those with "elementary occupations", such as bar staff, hospital porters and shelf fillers, had the highest sickness absence rates, at 2.7%.
The highest rates of sickness absence were found in Wales (2.6%) and Scotland (2.5%). The lowest rate was in London, at 1.4%, due to its "a younger workforce and a concentration of high-skilled jobs, both of which tend to have low absence rates", the ONS said.
The number of working days lost to sickness absence has been steadily declining since 2003 and fell to an all-time low of 131.7 million days in 2013. It rose again in 2014 and 2015, however this was attributed to an increase in the working population.