Early intervention reduces absence length by 17 per cent

Early intervention services can reduce the length of long-term sickness absences by 17%, according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), commissioned by employee benefits provider Unum.

Sickness absence

Its Benefits of early intervention report, which is based on estimations of the annual cost of long-term sickness absence to the UK economy in 2014 and draws on national statistical data sets and Unum’s proprietary group income protection claims data, also found that early intervention services to support employees with mental health conditions can reduce absence length by 18%.

The research also found:

  • Sickness absences cost an average organisation with 500 members of staff an estimated £770,000 a year.
  • The rate of long-term sickness absence is expected to grow by 4% by 2030.
  • Long-term absence durations for employees that suffer from musculoskeletal conditions are 12.3% shorter for staff who have access to early intervention and rehabilitation services.

Joanne Abate (pictured), assistant vice president, global health management at Unum, said; “By offering the use of early intervention services like vocational rehab or pointing staff towards services offered within employee assistance programmes (EAPs), employers can help tackle health issues before they become more serious, reducing both the personal and financial impact of long-term sickness absence.

“At present, many employers aren’t taking advantage of the early intervention services that might already be available to them through their benefits package.”