Manufacturing sector sees sickness absence rates fall below seven days per worker per year

Sickness absence in the manufacturing sector has fallen below an average of seven days per worker per year, research has revealed.

A survey covering more than 120,000 workers by employers’ group the EEF found that an average of 6.7 days per employee were lost to sickness last year – down from 7.1 in 2005.

EEF chief medical adviser Dr Sayeed Khan said: “Those manufacturers who invest in training their staff are continuing to reap the benefits of a proactive approach to absence management.

“However, there remains considerable room for improvement to reach the number of companies who still see such training as a cost.”

Four in 10 employees had no sick absence during 2006, a small improvement on the previous year’s figure.

Manual employees again showed a higher absence rate than non-manual employees, with an average of 3.8% time lost compared to 1.9%.

Just over a fifth of companies reported seeing an increase in short-term sickness absence, compared with more than a third seeing an increase in long-term sickness absence.

The South East of England and Greater London showed the lowest absence rate, with just 2.6% of working days lost to sickness absence. 

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