Redundancy fears spark drop in UK worker absence figures

fear of redundancy among workers has led to a 10 per cent fall in absence
levels in the past year, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development (CIPD).

CIPD’s Employee Absence 2003 study of more than 1,300 HR professionals also
finds that three-quarters of organisations believe minor illnesses such as
colds and flu were the most common causes of absence, up from half in the same
survey last year.

is still the most common cause of long-term sickness absence among non-manual
workers and is alarmingly high in the public sector, the CIPD reported.

60 per cent of the public sector organisations polled cited stress as the
leading cause of long-term sickness absence, more than double the number in the
private sector.

CIPD employee attitudes survey in December 2002 also showed that public sector
workers were more stressed than their private sector counterparts, with 38 per
cent of NHS workers and 30 per cent of local government workers finding their
work either stressful or very stressful, compared with an average of 25 per
cent for all workers.

the latest study, absence rates were higher among public sector employees (10.5
days a year) than private sector workers, where the average was seven days.
Workers from the north-west of England topped the regional absence league with
an average of 10.4 days per year, compared with 7.6 days for workers in London.

Emmott, CIPD head of employee relations, said: "The biggest single
influence on absence levels is management action. However, where employees feel
more insecure, this can also have an effect.

added: "Job insecurity can undermine morale and commitment and so push up
absence rates. However, the threat of redundancy may also lead to a fall in
sickness absence."

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