17% have taken a long-term absence from work

Martin Noone

Almost a fifth (17%) of employee respondents have been off work for four weeks or more because of an illness, accident or injury in the last 12 months, according to research by Legal and General.

Its Workplace wellbeing report, which surveyed 2,000 full-time employees and 200 managing directors and HR managers, also found that employer respondents believe staff take an average of 4.69 sick days a year, while employee respondents believe staff take an average of 3.44 sick days a year.

The research also found:

  • 35% of employee respondents take no days off sick.
  • Just 5% of employer respondents think an average employee would take no sick days in a year.
  • 36% of respondents know at least one friend, family member or colleague who has been off work for four weeks or more in the last 12 months.

Martin Noone (pictured), managing director at Legal and General Workplace Health and Protection, said: “Long-term absences from work can have a serious effect on both employee and employer. Our research shows that long-term absence is a prevalent issue and perhaps happening more often than employers realise. Long-term absence is a very real threat to business health, productivity and finances.

“The costs of paying people to do the work of the long-term absent employee can be high and employers should consider solutions that can help get their staff back to work quickly. Helping reduce the incidence of absence in the first place through health and wellbeing strategies is also extremely important.”