Did you know that the average employee in the UK has 7.6 working days off sick a year?

The Simply Health Absence Management survey that the average absence level in the UK has increased by 20% since 2012.

Interestingly absence levels are greatest in the public services sector (8.7 days per employee per year) and they are lowest in the manufacturing and production sector (6 days per employee per year). Absence levels seem to increase with the organisation size regardless of the sector.

With regards to how much working time is lost per year to absence as an average is as follows; two thirds of absences are short term (less than 1 week), 1/5 is due to long term (4 weeks or more). However there is a large difference between absences between different sectors. In the public sector just under half of the absences are short term compared with over three quarters in the private sector. 25% of organisations say that ‘pulling a sickie’ is one of the most common causes of short term absence.

One of the major causes of absence which is on the up is stress related, two –fifths of respondents reported that stress related absence has increased over the past year for the workforce as a whole, again public sector organisations were most likely to report that stress related absence has increased. Employers who have adopted flexible working recently have seen a reduction in absences due to stress.

Overall absence is an issue that most employers face, the median average absence costs per employee is £595 per year and for most businesses they find that absences are draining their resources and money. Organisations are hoping that if they change the way and times which their employees work this will have a positive outcome on lowering employee absences, especially in the Public sector.

Another major area for absence is musculoskeletal disorders. In some areas of work this accounts for over 50% of absence and it is not just in manual work that musculoskeletal absence occurs. There is now strong evidence that managing the absence from the 1st week of absence in a positive proactive way with the intervention of specialist musculoskeletal occupational health practitioners significantly reduces the time required for absence from work, and has around a £10 saving for every £1 spent return on investment. We have examples where absence has fallen by over 30% using these specialist system.