More than a third of UK businesses don’t measure the impact of sickness absence on their business, according to findings from group risk industry body Grid.
The findings show while 85% of UK businesses record employee absence, fewer employers (63%) actually measure the impact of sickness absence on their business. Of this group, four in five said that it had become more difficult to record since the onset of Covid as furloughing and working from home have combined to mask sickness absence.
Of those businesses alive to the benefits of documenting the impact of staff sickness, recording the number of lost hours or days was the favoured method (44%), followed by calculating the cost of sick pay provision – e.g. statutory sick pay and salary costs (40%).
Other measures employed included analysing the cost of lost productivity (36%), analysing direct costs such as for temporary staff and agency fees (33%), and indirect costs – such as colleagues covering work, learning time, management time (33%).
Commenting on the findings Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “The options, preferences, and levels of sophistication in recording absences will always vary from business to business. For example, it’s much easier to record lost productivity in a production line than it is in a service-based industry.
“However, it’s absolutely vital for all employers to record and analyse their absence data because it enables the employer to trigger a response for employees, such as early intervention support. 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.”
Moxham called on employers, insurers and advisers to work together to determine the best approach to supporting staff, as she argues the true measure of any business is how it treats it staff, particularly when they are at their most vulnerable through sickness or injury.
“When an absence is prolonged, group risk benefits provide vital financial support for the individual but the overall premise of the products is now so much more about helping the employee remain in work or supporting a return to work in a safe, reasonable and sustainable manner.”