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CIPD/Simplyhealth Annual Absence Management Survey

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has published the findings of its fifteenth employee absence management survey, carried out in partnership with Simplyhealth. This provides useful benchmarking data for organisations on absence levels and the cost and causes of absence, as well as information on employee well-being.

The average absence per employee has fallen from 7.6 days per annum in 2013 to 6.6 days in 2014. There is, however, a considerable variation across organisations. Public sector absence has fallen by almost a day, although at 7.9 days per employee it is still markedly higher than in the private sector (5.5 days). Positive trends that could account for the fall in absence levels include an increased focus on attendance strategies and a notable rise in the number of organisations that are developing line manager capability.

Two-fifths of respondents report that stress-related absence has increased over the past year for the workforce as a whole, whilst a quarter report that it has increased for managers and one in seven that it has increased for senior managers. Workload is rated as the most common cause of stress, followed by non-work relationships/family, management style and relationships at work. Whilst three-fifths of organisations are taking steps to identify and reduce stress in the workplace, a third of those that included stress among their top five causes of absence are not taking any steps to address the issue.

Another interesting finding is the impact on employers of the UK’s ageing population, with nearly a third reporting that caring responsibilities have had an impact on absence in the last year. The most common type of support provided to employees who are carers is flexible working.

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