14 Feb 2019

HR

Supporting Staff and Reducing Sickness

Why it's important to ensure your employees well-being is top priority

Last week marked ‘National Sickie Day 2019’, the first Monday in February, that according to national statistics is the day when people are most likely to pull a sickie.

In a report published by CIPD in 2016, the average number of days taken off sick was 6.3 per staff member, costing businesses an average of £522, per employee and in some sectors , such as legal – the loss was felt at a much greater scale.

In 2017 the average decreased to 4.2 days, when employees were said to be returning to work earlier than expected and were often working whilst ill due to the fear of disciplinary action from frequent absence and ultimately the fear of losing their job.

Managing sick days effectively is vital and if done correctly can have a positive and lasting impact on the business and the well-being of staff. Encouraging employees to return when they’re well rested and feel better in themselves reduces the pressure and creates a supportive atmosphere to return to.

Meeting with your employee when they return to work will provide you with a general understanding of the absence, confirms whether the employee is well enough to return to work and, if applicable, allows further steps to be taken, either internally or externally.

If necessary, arranging further meetings after follow-up GP appointments for example, simply to see how the employee is doing, can reduce the risk of long-term sickness and more importantly can improve the overall well-being of the employee.

Managing sickness levels from a business perspective is important but maintaining a comfortable and confidential space for the employee is key. Pressurising employees to return to work before they’re ready to do so can negatively impact the employees’ well-being which will have a knock-on effect later down the line.

That’s not to say that instances where the occasional “sickie” is pulled just to have a ‘duvet day’ don’t happen! If sickness absence is managed effectively, patterns can easily be highlighted – so those who try and pull a sickie on the Monday following a big Six Nations game may just be caught out!

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