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20 February 2019
It might be common for employees to occasionally dread the thought of turning up to work on a Monday morning, but in January employees are likely to take 53% more sick days than in any other month. High levels of short-term sickness absence can be a costly problem for organisations. This article looks at the steps employers can take to manage short-term sickness absence.
The first Monday in February is commonly referred to as national 'sickie' day – the day of the year when employees are most likely to call in sick. However, according to a former Cardiff University psychologist's formula, the start of the year also has the misfortune to host Blue Monday – the third Monday in January classed as the most depressing day of the year. A study by Exeter University found that Blue Monday could cost the UK economy £93 billion due to employees calling into work unwell; therefore, it seems that Blue Monday sees higher levels of sickness absence than national sickie day. Irrespective of the battle between Blue Monday and national sickie day for the top spot, absenteeism on a Monday is nothing new for employers. The absence rate on Mondays is nearly double that of Fridays (23.5% compared to 13.2%) and accounted for nine of the top 10 days of sickness absence days recorded in 2017.
Employers are likely to experience the highest levels of sickness absence between January and March compared with the rest of the year. Leaving aside cases of genuine sickness absence, a spike in absences during the cold winter months could be because of factors including:
The latest sickness absence figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that more than 34 million working days were lost to minor illnesses, such as coughs and colds in 2017. Sickness absences in 2018 cost UK employers an average of £656 per employee, with the impact of this more acutely felt by small to medium businesses.
Employers looking to tackle short-term intermittent sickness absence may want to consider the following steps:
For further information on this topic please contact Amy Nevins at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000) or email (email@example.com). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.
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