Long-term illnesses costing businesses £3.1 billion

Long-term sick leave costs UK business around £3.1 billion each year, a study has calculated.

The research, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of income protection specialist Unum, estimated that businesses are spending approximately £3.1 billion every year on employees who are unable to work because of long-term illness or injury, which rises to around £6.5 billion when the public sector is included.

The research concluded that 300,000 people leave employment because of illness or injury every year and the average duration of long-term sick leave is seven years.

For a business that has more than 500 employees, long-term absence costs an estimated £620,000 per annum, it added.

The estimate includes a breakdown into the cost of occupational sick pay, salaries of replacement staff, recruitment and training costs associated with these replacement staff, a loss in productivity, absence management and associated compliance and red-tape issues.

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