Sickness absence higher than pre-pandemic

Sickness absence higher than pre-pandemic
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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

UK employees were absent for an average of 7.8 days over the past year according to new survey findings from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simplyhealth.

This research shows that employees took two days of sickness absence more than during pre-pandemic times.

With employers under increasing pressure from recruitment and retention challenges, the two organisations are calling on employers to have an open and supportive culture where people can speak to line managers about health issues and access helpful support and adjustments such as flexible working options and health services.

Rachel Suff, Senior Employee Wellbeing Adviser at the CIPD, said: “Despite our research showing that most organisations are focusing on employee wellbeing, the considerable rise in absences across all sectors is a worry. External factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have had profound impacts on many people’s wellbeing.”

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As well as an overall increase in absence, it found stress to be a significant factor for both short and long-term absence, with over 76% of respondents reporting stress-related absence in their organisation in the past year.

The top causes of short-term absence are minor illnesses (94%), musculoskeletal injuries (45%) and mental ill health (39%). With regard to long-term absence, the main reasons are mental ill health (63%), acute medical conditions such as stroke or cancer (51%) and musculoskeletal injuries (51%).

The findings also show that over a third (37%) of organisations reported Covid-19 as still being a significant cause of short-term absence.

She has urged employers to implement a more systematic and preventative approach to workplace health. This means managing the main risks to people’s health from work to prevent stress as well as early intervention to prevent health issues from escalating where possible, Ms Suff explained.

For more information on managing sickness absence, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like I've just received a fit note from my employee, what do I need to do?

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