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Almost 650,000 workers call in sick every week, figures show

Almost 650,000 workers call in sick every week, figures show

Almost 650,000 workers call in sick every week, figures show

Charity urges employers to boost well-being initiatives

Nearly 650,000 UK workers call in sick each week, according to figures from the British Heart Foundation.

This equates to 2% of the workforce being absent through illness at some point every week, which is estimated to cost the UK economy £100 billion per year. 

The charity’s research from its Health at Work programme found that the public administration and defence sector – which includes public sector roles – had the highest level of absence with around 51,000 people phoning in sick in a typical week. This was three times the level reported in primary industries such as farming.

The study also found that many people’s ill health limited their ability to do their job properly, even when they are able to make it into work. Nearly half (44%) of respondents who reported a health problem lasting more than a year – which equates to eight million workers in the UK – said that they could not fully perform their work duties.

The figures also revealed that 16% of health problems among UK employees were related to heart and circulation conditions, while 6% were linked to diabetes. 

The British Heart Foundation called on employers to do more to create well-being initiatives that could improve the health and productivity of their staff.

Lisa Purcell, project manager for the charity’s Health at Work programme, said: “Sickness absence is a major concern for the health of our nation and costs businesses millions of pounds every year. But it doesn’t have to be like this. The risk of numerous health conditions reported by workers, including coronary heart disease, can be significantly cut with improvements to their lifestyle.”

She added: “Businesses that have prioritised workplace health have been able to create a healthier, more productive workforce with fewer days lost to sickness.” 

Encouragingly, the CIPD’s latest Absence Management survey found that the number of employers making changes to working patterns in an attempt to reduce long-term absence levels had increased by 20% over the last year.

More than 70% of organisations said that this move was having a positive impact on employee motivation and employee engagement, while a further 46% stated that they were using flexible working options to support employees with mental health problems.

 

Petaurum Solutions’ Comment

This report highlights again key decisions that employers need to make about their approach to managing employees’ wellbeing and sickness absence.  Do you look to invest in preventative measures (a proactive approach) or in dealing with the consequences (reactive) all of which will have key implications in your organisation?  At Petaurum Solutions we can support your decision in a variety of ways.  Whether you’re looking for help in fully assessing your current trends through a wide range of organisation wellbeing reports, or want to test your thinking and approach on tactical interventions – we pride ourselves on delivering real ROI through our range of creative solutions  which will help positively impact on employee health and wellbeing – enhancing engagement, increasing employee loyalty and retention and reducing the costs of sickness absence at the same time. 

Doing nothing is an expensive option as it will cost you in lost performance and profit!  Call us and we will help you invest in the right solution for you.

This information is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal, HR or benefits advice in any specific situation. Petaurum Solutions is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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