Employers stress over absence management

Employers are still struggling to manage the timely return to work of absent employees, according to research by health insurer and provider Aviva, particularly when it comes to supporting employees with complex conditions such as cancer.

One in five employers questioned in the study also admitted that they had experience of staff living with cancer.

Although 61% of employers stressed that their primary concern when an employee presented them with a serious condition was the health and wellbeing of the employee, nearly a quarter admitted to being anxious about the pressure that this absence would put on other employee’s workloads.

A further 15% worried about the effect that it would have on morale and just 11% were concerned about getting the employee back to work.

When it came to rehabilitation, just 5% said that this would not be an option, although one in five also admitted that they would find it difficult to manage both the needs of the business and the needs of their employee when faced with this situation.

Nearly a quarter of those that had supported staff through serious illness said that the experience had pro­mpted them to review their HR policy to ensure that they knew how to deal with future cases better.

A separate poll by Aviva, meanwhile, has suggested that nearly six GPs out of 10 feel that the quality of NHS care provided for mental health patients is poor. Nearly two out of five felt that mental health was a social rather than medical issue, while more than half believed that they needed more support from employers to help prevent workplace stress.

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