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1 in 4 Employers Have Seen an Increase in Staff Sickness

A new survey from Acas has found that one in four employers have seen an increase in staff being off sick compared to a year ago. Acas commissioned YouGov to ask employers at the end of August if they had seen any changes to the number of employees being off sick compared to 12 months ago. The poll found that:

  • 26% of employers had seen an increase in sickness absence;
  • Almost 1 in ten (9%) had seen a decrease;
  • Over half (59%) said that the number of staff being off sick had roughly stayed the same; and
  • 6% didn’t know or were not sure.

Acas advice is that businesses that effectively address sickness can improve staff morale and wellbeing, boost productivity, reduce absence levels as well as save money. Steps that can help to reduce sickness absence include:

  • Having an absence policy that is clear on what is expected of managers and their staff if they need time off work;
  • Create a culture at work where staff feel supported and comfortable raising problems that they trust will be taken seriously; and
  • Deal with the causes of absence such as work-related stress or workers struggling to balance work and caring responsibilities.

Acas advises that a good work-life balance can lead to lower levels of sickness absence. To help staff, employers should:

  • Encourage staff to speak up if they feel they’re under too much pressure at work;
  • Train managers to spot signs of a poor work-life balance;
  • Offer flexible working where possible;
  • Encourage breaks from work, including during the day and making sure employees take holidays;
  • Regularly review workloads; and
  • Lead by example – if managers and senior leaders have a good work-life balance, this will create a culture for employees to follow.

See: Reducing sickness absence: Recording and reducing sickness absence – Acas

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