News & Events

Sickness Absence Soars

October 2, 2023

Sickness absence soared to a 10 year high with average absence rising to 7.8 days, an increase of two full days per year per employee.

How is the wellbeing of your staff? Are they well and working efficiently and effectively? How much is sickness absence costing your business?

In April this year, the Government expressed concerns about the number of people not economically active. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also more recently reported that ill health and long-term economic inactivity are on the rise. Recent CIPD and Personnel Today reports also reflect this.

With more staff working in hybrid or remote roles, it can be a challenge for HR and managers to spot at an early stage when such staff might be experiencing health issues.

Key points from the ONS report include:

  • More long-term health concerns are being reported by employees;
  • Up to 36% of workers report having at least one long-term ill health conditions;
  • Over 400,000 more people report being economically inactive because of long-term health conditions;
  • Two fifths of those reporting long-term health conditions have more than one health issue and sometimes up to five long-term health conditions
  • 53% of staff absent due to long-term ill health conditions reported having depression, nervous problems or anxiety;
  • The other key condition underpinning long-term ill health was noted as being musculoskeletal conditions such as back or joint problems;

Depression, mental health issues such as anxiety were the most common conditions with heavy workloads being cited by staff as one of the reasons. Strokes and cancer have been cited at similar levels as musculoskeletal conditions.

The Government has started consulting about Occupational Health “Working Better” noting that better occupational health support can lead to higher employee retention. There is also to be consultation about how tax incentives might be used to help employers use occupational health services.

We provide specialist training for both HR professionals and managers about how to deal with both short term and longer-term health issues as well as longer term underlying health issues and disabilities.  HR has a key role to play in how these issues are managed. Managing a process well for a staff  member, as opposed to showing frustration at staff for their absence, can make a difference to productivity.

We help employers ensure staff are working efficiently and effectively. We provide practical help and legal support with all kinds of staffing issues including mental health and wellbeing issues in the workplace helping to reduce absences and improve performance. Additionally we provide up to date policies and procedures.

If you would like further information about how we can support you, HR, and your managers with ill health issues in the workplace please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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