Employers offer staff incentives to reduce absence

More than a quarter of employers offer staff incentives to encourage them to take few sick days.

The Pan european employer health benefit issues survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting of more than 380 organisations across Europe, also showed that almost half (49%) of the respondents promote health initiatives and benefits in their organisation. Among these, health screening is the most popular initiative, with 60% offering access to this service.

The research also found that over a quarter of respondents believe less than 20% of staff absence is sickness related, although a similar proportion believe that more than 80% of days off are due to ill health.

Steve Clements, principal at Mercer, said: "Some employers believe that by offering incentives to reduce absence, they are encouraging employees who are genuinely sick to attend work. Many also struggle with the notion of rewarding employees for doing what is expected of them – that is, to work when they are fit to do so."