Absence Management is still important

Reports indicate that employers are more in the dark than ever right now when it comes to employee sickness absence.

There could be greater challenges looming in terms of absence and claims – particularly with regards to work-related stress and burnout.

Predictions are a higher occurrence of mental health (MH) and musculoskeletal (MSK) claims are on the horizon, but the lack of data right now on short-term remote absences is making the size and scale of underlying problems difficult to measure and predict. Recent research by XpertHR reported 16% of employers believe their sickness absence costs data is accurate, with 42% who didn’t know if their absence costs data was accurate or not.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, almost one in five adults were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during the coronavirus pandemic in June 2020; this had almost doubled from around 1 in 10 before the pandemic (July 2019 to March 2020).

Another survey conducted by Totaljobs found that 7 in 10 said the loneliness they experienced during lockdown was having a negative effect on their wellbeing (sleep, stress, self-esteem, eating habits) thus impacting their productivity.

‘Burnout’ is now classed as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organisation. It results from workplace stress that hasn’t been managed effectively. While it’s not a confirmed medical condition, it could lead to a psychiatric illness if left unattended. Therefore, the courts could suggest an employer should have been alert to the signs of burnout and taken preventative, supportive!

First and foremost, the advice is always put in place a practical process of accurately recording all short-term absences, working in partnership with line managers and HR support.

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