Consensus HR

Your outsourced HR department.

Sickness and absence in the workplace

Published in General

Sickness and absence in the workplace.

businessman holding stomach for show his stomachache with white background

Employers often call the Consensus HR team to discuss an increase in absenteeism and sickness in their business. Business owners are very aware of the problems that this causes in providing a service and want to manage this situation – but how?

We continually advice our clients to ensure that absenteeism / sickness of any sort is managed continually, using:

  • Back to work interviews completed upon employees’ return to the workplace
  • Use of the Bradford Index
  • Occupational Health meetings (writing to employees’ GPs if appropriate)

The 2014 annual CIPD survey on absence management has found that the number of days taken by employees as sick leave has fallen. The 2013 average of 7.6 days decreased to 6.6 days in 2014. The statistics show that there has been a fluctuating downward trend in absence rates over the last five years in all business sectors. The only exceptions are production and manufacturing which have remained largely constant.

The survey also reports that:

  • Public sector organisations have the highest absence rates with the average number of sick days in these organisations falling from 8.7 days last year to 7.9 days this year
    • The average absence rate in the private sector is 5.5 days per year
    • The median cost of absence is £609 per employee (which has changed little over the last few years)
    • Minor illnesses such as colds, stomach upsets and migraines are the most common cause of short term absences
    • Stress is a common cause of long term absence
    • Two fifths of employers reported that stress absences had increased over the last year with workload being cited as the most common cause of stress.

“If employers feel that there is excessive absenteeism in their workplace, they should investigate this as soon as possible,” explains Matthew of Consensus HR. “This will involve checking that compliant internal processes are in place to guide issues such as absence management, performance management and employee handbooks.”

contact_usTo find out more, contact Matthew from Consensus HR & Business for your Human Resources Advice  via or on 01462 621423.