Sickness absence affecting UK businesses

Long-term sickness absence is a big issue for 45% of UK firms, according to research by Aviva Health.

The insurance firm’s annual absence management report found that 40% of respondents say someone else at the workplace has to pick up the work of the person off sick and 27% say that long-term sickness absence leads to a fall in productivity. Nearly 22% believe that absence impacts on the business financially.

According to the report, 53% of employers believe they are well equipped to deal with absence due to long-term sickness.

For 61% of employees their biggest concern when they face long-term sickness is being able to make ends meet when they are absent from work. The benefits employees would like to help with absence include flexible working (52%) and want as much time as possible to help accommodate and assist with recovery (41%). Respondents also wanted to know they have a regular income if they are off work ill.

The report also found:

  • 22% of employers offer private medical insurance.
  • 13% offer group income protection.

Steve Bridger, head of group risk at Aviva, says: “Sickness absence not only has a knock-on effect to other employees, but adds to the business concerns of employers as a whole. While it is encouraging that employers are implementing preventative measures to help them control the effects of sickness absence, take-up of the most effective solutions – group income protection – is still relatively low.”

Read more about sickness absence management.