Line managers are key to addressing sickness absence

Line managers are key to tackling sickness absence in the workplace, agreed a roundtable held by Legal and General.

In light of the imminent release of the government’s sickness absence review, expected at the end of October, Esther McVey, MP and parliamentary private secretary to Chris Grayling, minister of state for employment, said: “For the sickness absence review’s conclusions to be implemented effectively, line managers will be the crucial front-line force. They are the unsung heroes of the British workplace.”

McVey said that key to addressing sickness absence is the connection between the employee and their line manager, and also with their organisation’s mission statement. Core reasons for sickness absence can stem from unhappiness, lack of control or little involvement with the business.

Diane Buckley, managing director of group income protection at Legal and General, said: “Every year, hundreds of thousands of people’s journey to long-term sickness benefits begins in the workplace.

“We want to work with Britain’s line managers to help provide them with the support they need to cut sickness and absence.”

Nicky Richards, HR manager at Legal and General commented on the organisation’s own wellbeing initiative pilot that has brought a reduction in sickness absence. She said: “Our own internal wellbeing pilot has demonstrated that early intervention and wellbeing programmes alongside proactive line management can have a significant impact on absence rates in businesses.

“Our experiences highlight the importance of intervening before employees become unwell and having the appropriate support in place to help people at work when they are ill.”

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