Employers in Northern Ireland fail to tackle absence

Less than half (48%) of organisations surveyed in Northern Ireland have actively taken steps to reduce the number or duration of employee absences, according to research by investment advisory firm Kerr Henderson, group risk insurer Ellipse and private medical insurer H3 Insurance.

The Employee benefits survey, which was completed by almost 200 employers, also found that 13% of respondents did not even record absences.

The research also found:

  • More than half of respondents would offer more benefits to staff if incentivised by the government.
  • The top three reasons for providing benefits were to maintain and improve employee morale, support employers’ ethos and values, and to help retain staff.
  • 46% of respondents monitor employees’ satisfaction with their benefits each year, while 41% never do.
  • 67% of respondents have a good understanding of auto-enrolment, but only 54% know their staging dates.

John Kerr, director at Kerr Henderson, said: “Most [organisations] want to look after their employees well, but don’t necessarily see how effective use of employee benefits can help reduce their own costs, reduce absence and also keep their staff happy.

“Mobile phones are a great perk, but they won’t help when illness strikes, and state benefits will no longer provide adequate compensation for salary.

“It’s an ideal time for employers to review and reflect on the benefits that are offered to staff. Good advice will produce good solutions that benefit both the [employer] and employee.”