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Covid-19 preventing employers from tracking sickness absences

A spokesperson for GRiD has said it is “absolutely vital” for every employer to “record and analyse their absence data".

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Keeping a record of employee absences has numerous business benefits, from tracking attendance issues and pay errors to enhancing productivity among a workforce.

 

While 85% of UK businesses chose to record employee absence, new research carried out by GRiD has found that 63% of employers actually measure the impact of sickness absence on their business.

 

And it seems that the impact of the global pandemic has affected this for four in five employers, as furloughing staff and remote working has masked sickness absence.

 

Recording the number of lost hours or days was the favoured method for 44% of the businesses who understand the benefits of documenting the impact of staff sickness.

 

40% preferred calculating the cost of sick pay provision, such as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and salary costs, while 36% analysed the cost of lost productivity.

 

Analysing direct costs such as for temporary staff and agency fees was popular for 33% and indirect costs such as colleagues covering work, learning time and management time was for a further 33%.

 

Commenting on the findings, Katharine Moxham, a spokesperson for GRiD, explained that it is “absolutely vital” for every employer to “record and analyse their absence data because it enables the employer to trigger a response for employees, such as early intervention support”.

 

She added: “We know that the longer an individual is off work, the more difficult it can be for them to return which can be hugely disruptive to the employer and their business.”

 

With this in mind, how can employers support sickness absence?

 

Introduce absence management support

Services such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), wellbeing services and group risk benefits that include things such as critical illness can offer vital support that begins before an employee is off sick, plus it can also help limit the chance of absence in the first instance.

 

Consider early intervention incentives

Intervention when an employee is off sick can start as early as the first day an employee is unwell, or in some cases even before. This can be assessed by vocational rehabilitation experts who will put forward a tailored programme that will achieve a safe return to work. This instant access to support is crucial to enable better outcomes, that also saves employers’ money by not having to find and fund this help directly.

 

Employer support

Lastly, employers can be updated about an employee’s rehabilitation progress, which will allow an organisation to prepare for when they return to work. In addition, line managers can call on various support too, such as advice on stress management, conflict resolution and communicating change.

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