Employers warn over absence rates
Posted Mon, 14 May 2012
More must be done to reduce short-term sick leave among employees, experts have warned.
The EEF manufacturers' organisation said a "fresh approach" is needed to tackle long-term health problems such as stress and back pain among workers. This would increase productivity and boost the economy, the group added.
It comes after research by EEF revealed that despite a decline in the number of absences reported over the last five years, the number of days lost to illness has not been reduced. A third of the 400 companies surveyed reported a decrease in absences in 2011, while the number of workers taking no days off sick rose from 46% to 51% between 2010 and 2011. However, total sickness absence rates were unchanged at 2.2%, with around five days per employee lost to illness.
Commenting on the findings, EEF chief medical adviser Professor Sayeed Khan said the Government needed to look at new ways to reduce sick leave. This could include promoting the 'fit note' system among GPs and healthcare staff, he added.
Prof Khan said: "With our economy still suffering from weak growth we need to pull every possible lever to improve our economic performance. This includes helping employees to return to health and work as soon as possible."
Copyright Press Association 2012