How to reduce your employee sickness absence levels

Before you think about how to reduce employee absence through sickness, you should firstly be clear on the extent of the absence through sickness problem. You can do this by monitoring employee sickness and keeping a record of all employee sickness on file. But, having done this, how do you determine if the levels of sickness within your business or from one employee is above the norm – and therefore requires remedial action? What most experts recommend is that you benchmark your sickness figures against industry norms and this can help to put you sickness levels into perspective and establish if you really have a problem. There are a range of industry sickness level studies available and I have listed some of the statistics below.

Average Sickness Levels UK

  • The annual CBI/Pfizer “Absence and workplace health survey”, which is a highly respected study, providing insight into UK sickness levels has determined that UK employees average 6.5 sick days per year. (2010)
  • A PWC survey indicates that UK workers have an average of 10 days unscheduled absence per year, compared to 5.5 days in the US and 4.5 in Asia Pacific.
  • A EEF/Westfield Health 2011 Sickness Absence suggests that UK employees average 5 sick days per year.
  • The CBI survey for 2010 suggests that UK employees have an average of 6.4 sick days per year.

Taking all the surveys into consideration, UK employees are averaging about 7 days sickness per year and if your employees sickness levels are on or above this mark, you may want to consider remedial action, and I have outlined four steps you can take to help lower your sickness levels.

4 Tips to Help Reduce Employee Sickness Absence

  1. This should be doing this anyway, but if you are not, you should introduce a sickness policy which includes a formal sickness notification procedure.
  2. This sickness policy should include the requirement for employees to certify sickness, either through self certification or a doctors note.
  3. Introduce Return to work interviews where the employee must discuss their sickness with the manager on their return with a view to minimising future sickness.
  4. Reduce the amount of paid sick days that employee’s receive per year.

Just adopting these four simple steps and by implementing them correctly should help to reduce your sickness levels within your business.




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