Employers failing to tackle effects of absence

Employers are still not doing enough to minimise the effects of absence
within their organisations, according to the Work Foundation.

Absence costs about £11bn, or 9 per cent of the annual salary costs of
larger employers, estimated the study Attendance Management, yet the headline
figures for absence are virtually unchanged.

The UK average has just risen for the first time in six years, to seven days
per worker. While 89 per cent of absences were short term, long-term episodes
accoun-ted for 56 per cent of days lost and up to 70 per cent of the costs.

Every week, about 3,000 people moved from long-term sickness to ongoing
incapacity benefit. Of the 2.7 million people now receiving incapacity benefit,
only just over 1 per cent rejoin the workforce each week.

Yet despite the scale of the problem, 57 per cent of employers still do not
cost absence, which suggests a lack of data or insight, said the foundation.

"While headline figures have not changed, the renewed focus on the
bottom line has highlighted the real cost of absence to UK organisations,"
said Stephen Bevan, the report’s author and deputy director of research at the
Work Foundation.

"The good news is that sensible management techniques can make an
immediate and positive impact," he added.

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