27 September 2016

Employers underestimate employee absence rates

Our research shows that almost one in five employees surveyed had a long-term absence from work in the previous 12 months. Plus one in three know someone who's had a long-term absence in the previous 12 months. In contrast, 40 per cent of employers estimate their staff will take an average of four to five days off sick each year. These figures highlight the scale of long-term employee absences and the need for employers to understand the issue and explore potential solutions.

Our research shows that long-term absence is a prevalent issue and perhaps happening more often than employers realise.

Unexpected long-term absence can have a financial impact on the individual and their family.

It's also a very real threat to business health, productivity and finances.

Our Workplace Wellbeing research shows that:

  • Almost one in five (17%) employees surveyed said they have been off work for four weeks or more (a long-term absence) because of illness, accident or injury in the previous 12 months.
  • Over one in three (36%) knew at least one friend, family member or colleague with a long-term absence in the previous 12 months.
  • Less than 5% (4.5%) of employers thought an average member of staff would take no sick days in a year whereas 35% of employees said they take no days off sick.
  • Employers said they believed their staff take an average of 4.69 sick days a year whereas employees said an average of 3.44 days a year.

These findings suggest there is a need for employers to really understand the level, impact and cost of absence within their business.

An effective solution to help reduce the cost of absence

The costs of paying people to do the work of the long-term absent employee can be high and employers should consider solutions that can help get their staff back to work quickly.

Group Income Protection can play a valuable role in helping absent employees return to work as quickly as possible and reduce the cost of absence for employers.

Our latest figures show that almost 80% of notified absences are able to return to work before becoming a claim.

Useful information

Visit our Group Income Protection pages for more information about our proposition and the support available.

Learn about what we can and can't cover and how we assess claims in our Technical Guides.