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CIPD reports high levels of sickness absence in UK businesses

October 24, 2023
Employment Law

Last month, we reported on new Acas guidance aimed at helping employers deal with the challenges posed by sickness absence. This month, we comment on new research published by the CIPD into sickness absence rates amongst UK workers.

What has the CIPD found?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) looked at sickness absence rates within more than 900 organisations. Compared to an average sickness rate of 5.8 days per employee back in 2019, the current figure has now risen to 7.8 days. This is the highest it’s been in more than 10 years. Absence rates vary across sectors; the public sector rate stands at 10.6 days, compared with 5.8 days in the private sector. However, rates have increased significantly across all sectors.

In terms of the reasons for absences, most were attributable to routine minor illnesses or ailments. However, significantly, mental health conditions were one of the other most common causes of absence, both short-term and long-term.  

Although most employees interviewed as part of the research described their physical and mental health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, more than one in four reported that their work has had a negative impact on their mental health. 

How does your organisation compare?

How closely do you monitor your rates of sickness absence? Are you above or below the average? What are the main reasons for sickness absence amongst your staff? And crucially, how confident are your line managers when dealing with absence problems? 

If you want to have a chat with us about your sickness absence trends, please get in touch. If you want to read more about the CIPD research, click here.

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