Magazine article Management Services

Stress Is a Leading Cause of Long-Term Absence Says New CIPD Report

Magazine article Management Services

Stress Is a Leading Cause of Long-Term Absence Says New CIPD Report

Article excerpt

Newsdesk

Employees take an average of 10 days off sick each year, according to 'Employee Absence 2002', published recently by people management specialists the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This shows a slight increase, from the reported 9.3 working days lost, in last year's study.

The latest survey of over 1300 practitioners found that sickness absence costs employers an average of L522 for each employee per year. This amounts to an estimated annual cost of L13 billion for the UK economy as a whole.

Stress is the most common cause of long-term absence (more than four weeks) for non-manual staff, cited by 44% of survey respondents. The second most frequently cited cause was acute medical conditions, reported by 28% of respondents. For manual workers, the primary reason for sickness absence is back pain, with around 30% of the sample rating this as most important. The survey shows that long-term absence accounts for about a fifth of all absence.

To get people back to work after a long period off sick, employers most commonly maintain regular contact with the employee, conduct return-to-work interviews, and offer the employee reduced working hours on a temporary or permanent basis.

CIPD Lead Adviser on Public Policy Diane Sinclair says, "Our survey suggests that organisations need to do more to tackle stress among their staff. Both the reasons for work-related stress and its symptoms need to be managed.

Sinclair continues, "Me respondents to our study believe that keeping in regular contact with the absent employee and involving occupational health professionals are the most effective ways of getting people back to work after a long period off sick. …

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