Managers frustrated at time off for employee medical appointments

Nearly one-third (29%) of managers say that they are frustrated by the amount of working time lost when employees take time off for medical appointments, research has suggested.

Despite this, the online survey of more than 1,000 managers (owners, directors, and senior and middle managers) by AXA PPP healthcare found that a similar percentage (32%) said they would prefer employees to take time off sick rather than come to work ill.

Nearly half (49%) agreed that having a quick diagnosis, backed by information on how to get better would help improve their employees’ productivity.

The survey also questioned employees about how they handled their own health issues, and found a quarter admitted to waiting for a week to see if they recovered before seeking medical advice, while more than one-third (35%) said that they would delay seeking treatment because of work hours and pressures.

A quarter of managers said they would try to ask the employee what was wrong themselves in order to find out whether or not their condition was “serious” enough to warrant taking time off.

And a total of 12% said that they would ensure employees who attended medical appointments during working hours made up for the missed time. Nearly one in 10 (8%) asked employees to take half a day’s holiday to cover for the time they had taken for medical appointments.

Just 28% agreed that sick employees should take however long they needed for their treatment and recuperation. And, while 17% indicated that they would be sympathetic to an employee’s plight, they also did not expect them to take more than three days off sick at a time.

Nearly two-fifths (38%) agreed that providing all employees in their workforce with access to healthcare benefits would help reduce sickness absence and improve employee health and wellbeing.

Chris Horlick, distribution director at AXA PPP healthcare, said: “Time away from work due to sickness absence and medical appointments can be frustrating – both for employees and for employers.

“Seven out of 10 of the bosses surveyed agreed that providing healthcare benefits across the workforce can help reduce sickness absence, improve health and aid employee retention, yet, in our experience, employers tend to provide medical insurance to senior managers only.”

The research was published to coincide with the launch of a new healthcare plan called Access- HEALTH, designed for employers to use across their whole workforce.

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