Absence levels fall but stress gets grip

More than a third (37%) of HR practitioners saw an improvement in their overall absence levels last year, according to research by Personnel Today’s sister publication IRS Employment Review.

However, a quarter (23%) of the 430 respondents surveyed in the HR Prospects 2006 study said overall absence levels had got worse in 2005.

The main areas of concern were stress-related absence and mental health, which were the only categories where the overall situation had worsened.

More than a third (36%) admitted that stress problems had worsened over the year and only 12% said it had improved.

More than half (57%) of HR professionals said there had been no change in the levels of other common mental health-related absence, but 17% said there had been an increase in absences in this area.

About a third (34%) saw an improvement in short-term absence, but a quarter (25%) said the situation had deteriorated.

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