Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder

Staff absence costs employers a fortune every year. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, with an average salary of £25000, this amounts to some £32 billion a year. The CIPD also reckon that less than 50 per cent of employers monitor staff sickness absence.

Staff absence costs employers a fortune every year. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, with an average salary of £25000, this amounts to some £32 billion a year. The CIPD also reckon that less than 50 per cent of employers monitor staff sickness absence.

This high cost of sickness absence has led to the Government commissioning a review into the issue; it appears that despite the introduction of the 'fit note' - which was welcomed by many - little has changed.

So how is this problem beaten? Possibly with a carrot and stick approach. Some firms have been known to pay staff a monthly bonus if they not only don't take time off for sick leave but also arrive on time. Others use return to work interviews and strong discipline for those who are unacceptably absent. 

Whichever method is used, employers still need to bear in mind the consequences for the rest of the (healthy) workforce where those that are genuinely unwell are effectively forced to come in, say for financial reasons; diseases do spread and can cause much more financial harm to the business than one sick employee being paid to stay at home.

This was last published in August 2011

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