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Billions lost as sick leave reaches epidemic levels

first_imgEmployees are taking more time off sick each year, costing UK businessesmore than £500 for every employee. The CIPD’s Employee Absence 2002survey shows sickness absence is a growing problem,and the number of working days lost has risen to 10 from 9.3 in 2001, withstress being the most common cause of long-term absenteeism. The survey of more than 1,300 HR professionals finds that sickness absencecosts employers an average of £522 for each employee per year. This amounts toan estimated annual cost of £13bn for the UK economy as a whole. For non-manual staff, stress is the most common cause of long-term absenceof more than four weeks, and was cited by 44 cent of survey respondents. Thesecond most frequently cited cause was acute medical conditions, reported by 28per cent of respondents, with back pain the primary reason for sickness absenceamong manual workers, cited by around 30 per cent. The survey shows thatlong-term absence accounts for about a fifth of all absence. CIPD lead adviser on public policy, Diane Sinclair, said the findings provethat employers need to take workplace stress seriously. “Our survey suggests that organisations need to do more to tacklestress. The reasons for work-related stress and its symptoms need to bemanaged,” she said. To get people back to work after long periods off sick, employers mostcommonly maintain regular contact with the employee, conduct ‘return-to-work’interviews, and offer them reduced working hours on a temporary or permanentbasis. Employers have a range of strategies for minimising the incidence oflong-term absence in their organisations. The most common are providingsickness absence guidance to line managers (used by 81 per cent oforganisations), identifying absence triggers (78 per cent), involvement ofoccupational health professionals (77 per cent), reducing sick pay after aspecified period of absence (76 per cent), and disciplinary action forunjustified absence (75 per cent). www.cipd.co.ukBy Ben Willmott Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Billions lost as sick leave reaches epidemic levelsOn 6 Aug 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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