Cost of sick days vastly outweighs healthcare spend

The amount of money employers spend on keeping staff healthy still pales in comparison to the costs of treating sickness absence, according to new research.

An independent study of more than 400 HR directors and health employees carried out for medical insurer PruHealth found that employers spent an average of £97 per year on the health and wellbeing of each of their employees.

The total investment of £2.4bn in company-paid healthcare across the UK in 2004 fell far short of the £12.2bn (£495 per employee), or 33 million working days, that businesses lost to absenteeism during the year.

The results come despite the fact that 75% of HR directors polled said employee health and wellness was strongly linked to productivity and morale.

Shaun Matisonn, chief executive of PruHealth, said claims by business that employee health and well-being were key issues remained “empty rhetoric”.

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