Business loses £10bn to sick days

The number of days lost due to workplace absence is equal to the entire working population of Nottinghamshire plus Merseyside.

Workplace absence averaged 7.8 days per employee last year or a cost to business of £434 per employee, according to findings revealed by the Confederation of British Industry’s fifteenth annual absence survey ‘Pulling Together’ published in association with PPP Healthcare.

Short-term absence accounted for 80% of all absences recorded.

The survey showed that employers believe most absence is caused by genuine sickness with manual workers suffering more from physical illness, while non-manual workers were absent due to stress and recurring illness.

Susan Anderson, CBI director of human resources policy, said: ‘Absence rates are lower than they were ten year ago but it is worrying that there’s such a big gap between the best and worst performing organisations.’

Public sector workers were absent more often than those working in the private sector with an average of 10.2 days for the public sector and 7.6 days for the private sector.

Dudley Lustedd, PPP Healthcare’s director of corporate healthcare development, said: ‘Too many companies are still failing to manage their people-risks properly. It’s crazy to pay people not to work when the tools to safeguard their wellbeing and manage sickness absence are so well established.’

Small companies reported lower absence rates with the average rate at 5.9 days per employee, while companies with more than 500 employees reported nine days per employee.

For more information on the CBI visit

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