Employment minister Alan Johnson has urged businesses to adopt work-life
balance polices after new research reveals stress-related absenteeism costs
business £7.1m a week.
The study by the Department for Trade and Industry’s Work-Life Balance
Campaign finds only a quarter of employers are aware how much sickness absence
affects the bottom line.
The survey also shows widespread ignorance about the burden to business of
staff turnover. Only one in five of the companies surveyed are aware it costs,
more than £3,000 on average every time someone leaves.
Johnson stressed that employers need to start making the link between
progressive employment practices and reduced absenteeism and staff turnover.
"Businesses need to be smarter when it comes to beating these
problems," he said. "Work-life balance policies such as flexible
work, job sharing and employee benefits don’t require huge cash investment –
just a fresh approach. Employers have to realise that prevention is better, and
cheaper, than cure."
The study also finds that nearly 60 per cent of employers have never
considered offering job shares and 56 per cent have not thought about
introducing flexible work locations.
Almost half of the employers have never considered any benefits packages and
one in 10 have not offered part-time work.
The study follows previous government research which reveals UK employees
are five times more likely to be offered stress counselling than preventative
work-life balance policies such as childcare advice.
By Ben Willmott