Employers battle rising sickness levels

As National Stress Awareness day approaches (6 November), employers are being reminded that healthy and happy workers mean a boost to the bottom line.

Although the average absence level is now 7.6 days per employee, the number of employers making changes to working patterns to try and reduce long-term absence levels has increased by 20% in the last year, according to the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.

John Telfer, Managing Director of Investors in People South, which manages the Investors in People Standard in London and the South, said: “It is very encouraging to hear that so many employers are realising that making a few simple changes can bring huge benefits. It will take time for any change to take effect so we should not be discouraged by the fact that sickness levels have increased slightly.”

Every year 140 million working days1 are lost to sickness absence and employers pay sick pay and associated costs of £9 billion a year.

“Managing the health of employees goes way beyond offering gym membership or free fruit – it is vital that staff feel valued,” continued John Telfer. “Saying thank you, and genuinely meaning it, can be a huge motivator and have a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing.

“It is much more about prevention rather than reacting to a situation. Ensure supportive and effective management at all levels of an organisation and it will lead to enhanced business performance.”