The 2012 annual Absence Management survey, jointly published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Simplyhealth, shows that the average rate of employee absence has fallen from 7.7 days last year to 6.8 days in 2012. Absence levels in the public sector have fallen to their lowest level in ten years, an average of 7.9 days per employee compared with 5.7 days in the private sector.
According to the CIPD, the lower absence levels could be masking deeper problems in the workplace, which are likely to have a negative impact on overall productivity.
The fall appears to coincide with increased levels of ‘presenteesim’, with almost a third of employers reporting an increase in the number of people going to work while ill. The survey concludes that this is likely to be the result of the threat of redundancies and concerns over job security.
Stress continues to be the most common cause of long term absence, with 40% of employers reporting a rise in stress-related absence over the past year. The level of reported mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, has also increased.
The survey provides a timely reminder to employers of the need not only to monitor individual absence records, but also to take steps to address the underlying causes of absences resulting from work-related stress.
A copy of the full survey can be downloaded here.