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The difficulties in managing staff sickness absence

Research undertaken by Axa PPP Healthcare on how SMEs deal with staff sickness absence has been highlighted in a recent article by Workplace Law. And it’s not good news.

The survey revealed that there is an overall lack of trust between employees and employers on the issue of sickness absence. 60% of bosses in SMEs indicated that they don’t always believe that their staff are telling the truth when they phone in sick. On top of this, 37% go as far as checking the employee’s social media profile if they think they’re not actually ill and 25% even ask another staff member to phone the employee to try and catch them out.

The situation is no better from the employee’s point of view. 46% of respondents said that they felt nervous phoning their manager to call in sick, even if they were genuinely ill. Half indicated that they regularly suffered from stress at work, while the research revealed that the majority of SMEs didn’t monitor stress levels, train managers in how to identify the signs of stress or support good mental health in the workplace.

These deficits are having a considerable impact upon business performance. According to the report, staff sickness costs a micro-business £3,500 each year, while organisations that employ between 100 and 250 employees lose around £40,500 per annum.

However, there are more positive signs from the research. Smaller companies tend to be better overall at managing staff sickness absence, which may be due to the closer relationships between the business owner and the employees. The big lesson to learn, though, is that being proactive in managing absence can have a big impact upon staff morale and costs such as overtime and additional temporary employees to fill the gaps.

Read the full article here: SME bosses reveal struggle to manage sickness absence.