WORKPLACE RELATIONS SPECIALISTS 
Employee absence is a significant cost to businesses. Our Health and well-being at work survey has data on sickness absence levels and causes. It also looks at current practices in managing absence and attendance. The 2019 CIPD report shows that sickness absence is at its lowest (5.9 days on average per employee per year) in the 19-year history of the survey. This doesn’t mean that all workplaces are necessarily becoming healthier or that people are at less risk of becoming unwell. As the workforce ages, for example, people are more likely to develop long-term health conditions and/or disabilities and so it’s important that employers develop supportive workplaces that help people to manage their health and work. 
 
Fostering employee well-being is good for people and their employers. Promoting well-being can prevent problems from escalating and help create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive. 
 
Effective attendance management involves finding a balance between providing support to help employees with health conditions stay in and return to work, and taking consistent and firm action in the minority of cases where employees could try to take advantage of their organisation’s occupational sick pay scheme. 
 
Types of absence 
There are many reasons why people take time off work: 
short- or long-term sickness 
other authorised absences, including annual leave; maternity, paternity, adoption, or parental leave; time off for public or trade union duties, or to care for dependents; compassionate leave; educational leave 
unauthorised absence or persistent lateness. 
This factsheet focuses on sickness absence issues. For more information on authorised forms of absence, see our working hours and time off work factsheet. 
 
In a recent CIPD survey, the main causes of sickness absence have been identified as: 
minor illness (includes colds/flu, stomach upsets, headaches and migraines) 
musculoskeletal injuries, including back pain 
stress 
mental ill health (for example depression and anxiety). 
caring responsibilities for children. 
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Tagged as: Absence Management
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