The Cost of Employee Absence
COVID-19 has brought many challenges for HR teams, and perhaps one of the most sensitive topics that employers have had to deal with is managing employee absences in this difficult time. With the UK’s mental health declining, and new reasons for needing time off work – including catching the virus, self-isolation and childcare duties – managing absence has suddenly become a lot more complex.
The rise in employee absences is having a huge impact on the bottom line for UK businesses. But despite over 70% of those businesses admitting that absence has a direct effect on profitability, more than a third of these have no idea how much absentees have cost them.
Why Are Employees Absent?
A study carried out in 2020 shows that staff are increasingly taking more absence days – averaging at 6.5 days per employee a year.
The most common reasons for sickness absence (prior to new COVID-19 challenges), are minor illnesses, accounting for 27.2% of the total days lost to sickness, musculoskeletal problems at 19.7% and mental health conditions at 12.4%. But absences could also reflect inflexible work practises or other issues in the workplace.
How Can You Manage Absences?
By identifying issue trends, businesses can develop policies and procedures that focus on preventing absence, rather than punishing people for their previous absences. Employers coming down hard on absence doesn’t necessarily improve performance, as stress-related absence is an increasing problem. Presenteeism – coming into work when sick – is also becoming increasingly common, and is associated with an increased level of stress.
You can never eradicate staff absence, but we can help you manage it effectively. Through strong leadership, encouragement, and a positive work environment, you can minimise the negative impact of absenteeism on your business.
We have created this whitepaper to help you understand the trends and implications of the cost of absence to your business.
- 70% of small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) owners say absenteeism is affecting their profitability
- Businesses estimate an average of 15% saving simply by monitoring, measuring and managing absence
- Absenteeism costs the private sector an average of £568 per employee each year