Sick leave costs UK business £39bn

Firms are spending more than 10 per cent of their staff budgets on sickness
absence and employee healthcare, claims Norwich Union Healthcare research.

It is costing UK business £39bn a year, if the findings from the 87
companies that took part in a survey are extended to all firms in the country.

Nigel Hawkins, research and development manager at Norwich Union Healthcare,
said HR needs to recognise the problem, look at measurement systems to ensure
the right data is being captured and ensure it is used to take appropriate

"There may be a problem with short-term frequent absence due to
workplace bullying, or long-term absence because people are on NHS waiting
lists, in which case you could intervene with private healthcare," he

Of the respondents, 95 per cent had formal policies for absence management,
but less than 4 per cent think they are effective.

Only one in 10 regularly assessed the direct cost to their organisation of
sick leave.

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