The median absence rate for 2019 was 2.7% of working time, or 6.4 days’ absence per employee per year. The cost of sickness absence for respondents to the survey providing figures stood at a median of £568 and an average of £544 per employee. However, this is unlikely to be an accurate measurement of the overall cost of sickness absence - while all the respondents include the salaries of individuals on sick leave, few count the cost of overtime, reduced performance, reduced service or missed business opportunities. According to the CIPD workplace absence is costing the UK economy £18bn in lost productivity.
If you have employees with a higher than average absence rate this will be costing you a lot of money. Whilst there may be valid reasons for the high absence record, tracking absence across your business could help you identify some common organisational issues or underperformance.
The CIPD attributes a number of factors to high absence rates. A major contributor to the increased levels of absence in the UK is the rise in mental health issues. An ageing workforce has also had a significant impact on levels of absence, with musculoskeletal issues continuing to affect mostly 50-60 year olds, and time off to recover from surgery. Compounding the rise of these particular conditions is the attitudes of Millennials towards work. This age group value independence and flexibility, sometimes over and above salary and job security. In addition, a quarter of organisations report that non-genuine absence is one of their top five causes of short-term absence.
Employers that invest in the health and wellbeing of their employees could see a reduction in absence and a rise in productivity. Some solutions include managing employee motivation and engagement, introducing a well-being programme, identify any issues of work related stress, offer flexible working and providing employee support.
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I understand what it’s like to be an internal HR and an external HR consultant which gives me a unique perspective because I understand the people needs but also the commercial drivers of businesses. As...