Sickness Absences Falling – But EEF Recently Called for More Action
The amount of sick leave continued a trend that started after 2003, falling again in 2011 according to a report published by the Office for National Statistics today. The average amount of sick leave per employee is now less than 4.5 days, 1.6% of working days in the private sector, and this figure is slightly lower (1.5%) for firms with less than 25 staff.
Minor ailments – the non-recurring type that can often be monitored & managed with reference to the Bradford Factor – continue to be the most common reason for sickness, accounting for around 27.5 million days lost.
As a reminder that effective capability procedures will be even more important for all employers in the future, older workers (aged 50 to 64) lost around 2.5% of their working time, although this statistic improves for workers aged 65+; the ONS attribute this to being due to those with health problems more likely to have left the labour market. With the abolishing of the default retirement age, all employers should ensure they have proactive policies & procedures in place to monitor & manage absences – do contact us if your business would benefit from professional assistance with this.
TUC Found the Figures Expose Pressure to Attend Work
Responding to the figures, the TUC suggested that “the biggest problem workplaces face is not absenteeism, but ‘presenteeism’” – where workers attend when they are not fit for work.
The TUC also suggested that ‘Employers need to look at their working practices and see whether they can be changed to prevent ill-health, rather than try to blame workers for falling sick, which serves no good to anyone’, a sensible approach to sick leave that employers should explore every time they discuss sick leave with their staff.
EEF Wants Government to Do More
These latest figures come only a few days after EEF – the Manufacturers’ Organisation – called for the Government to “re-invigorate its efforts to tackle sickness absence and implement the recommendations of the Frost/Black Review.