High Rates of Workplace Absence: Bad Employer or Employee?

Due to the UK’s National Health Service reports being increasingly overburdened. The British Medical Association are recommending that employees only require a Doctors sick note after a two week absence from their jobs. Companies are trying to combat the increasing cost of long-term employee absence due to illness.

A survey conducted between HR firms across the UK have released the following unsettling figures for UK companies:

  •  2.5 million working days are lost to long-term illness absence each year.
  • 42% of companies reported upsurges in illness related absence over the last 2 years.
  • 45% of employers with fewer than 100 employees rely heavily on the NHS (the healthcare system in the UK) to deliver treatment for long-term bad health conditions. As only 21% of UK companies affording to pay for private employee medical bills.

Employee Well-being & Long-term Sickness

The workers union has suggested introducing incentives,  such as tax reductions for employers. SMEs are supporting employees during a long-term period of sickness. Employee well being is one of the most important factors that are often overlooked by HR. Its always in the best interest of the company to ensure that all workers are taking care of themselves. This includes getting a balanced work-life routine, with low stress throughout the day.

Meanwhile, the Resolution Foundation is a nonprofit organisation fighting for employee rights and campaigning for a 12 month “right to return” period after a prolonged employee absence.


Keeping the Balance Right

It really is a balancing act between giving employees with ill health appropriate time to recover; whilst not being too financially devastating on businesses.

As has been established, sickness is problematic not merely for suffering employees. Problems also arise for the employers who face the associated expenses and loss in manpower. Clearly, it’s in both the employers and the workers best interests to do all we can, in order to encourage good health and well-being across the board in 2020.