Managers believe that about a third of time taken off sick each
year by employees is not genuine, a survey has revealed.
Employees take an average of 8.7 days off each year, but 85
per cent of managers surveyed by the CIPD believe that more than 30 per cent of
that absence is not due to genuine ill-health.
The findings of the CIPD’s survey into employee absence
reveal that there is also a considerable amount of hidden absence, caused by
managers under-reporting their own absence.
Of the 1,466 organisations surveyed, about 33 per cent
believe that under-reporting occurs.
Diane Sinclair, CIPD advisor in employee relations said,
“The majority of employees don’t want to let their employer down, and if
managers treat people like grown-ups, they’ll act like grown-ups.”
The survey also found that the average cost of sickness
absence is £487 for each employee each year, representing a cost of £12 billion
to the economy as a whole.
Nearly 94 per cent of employers report sickness absence to
be a ‘very significant burden’.
“Organisations can make huge savings by managing absence. They
must tackle those organisational issues that are leading to unnecessary
absence,” comments Sinclair.
The survey revealed that the most common reasons given for
time off work due to sickness are colds or flu, but stress is seen as the main
cause of longer-term absence among non-manual staff.