Sickness absence rates in the UK labour market have surged to unprecedented levels, posing challenges for both employers and employees.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the sickness absence rate reached 2.6% in 2022, the highest since 2004, resulting in an estimated 185.6 million working days lost. This concerning pattern calls for proactive initiatives from employers to tackle the underlying factors contributing to absenteeism and promote the health and well-being of their employees.
Understanding the Root Causes: Employers need to delve into the reasons behind the surge in sickness absence. The ONS reports that minor illnesses account for 29.3% of occurrences, with increases across all age groups. Additionally, workers in specific sectors, such as caring, leisure, or other service occupations, are experiencing higher rates.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has played a significant role in shaping sickness absence trends. While measures like furloughing and remote work initially reduced absence rates, the subsequent return to pre-pandemic conditions saw a spike in 2022. This highlights the need for adaptive health and safety strategies that align with changing work environments.
Public vs. Private Sector Disparities: Public sector workers consistently exhibit higher sickness absence rates (3.6%) compared to their private sector counterparts (2.3%). Employers must consider sector-specific challenges, such as job types and sick pay policies, in implementing effective health surveillance and intervention strategies.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time Disparities: Part-time workers experience consistently higher sickness absence rates (3.7%) than full-time workers (2.4%). Employers should recognise the unique challenges faced by part-time employees which may be linked to the higher representation of women and specific job roles within this group.
How Connexus Health Can Help:
Connexus Health offers comprehensive Health Surveillance services aimed at keeping employees and businesses safe. By providing ongoing health checks, Connexus Health assists employers in meeting their duty of care and complying with health and safety legislation. The key services include Audiometry, Spirometry, Skin Assessments, Hand Arm Vibration (HAVS), and Vision Assessments.
The mobility of Connexus Health’s fully equipped units allows for on-site health surveillance, minimising the need for employees to leave their work environment. This not only saves valuable time but also reduces costs and enhances overall productivity.
In the face of the escalating sickness absence rates in the UK labour market, employers must adopt proactive health surveillance measures to address the root causes of absenteeism. Connexus Health’s comprehensive services empower businesses to comply with health and safety regulations, reduce risks, and create a healthier, more productive workforce. By leveraging the latest health surveillance technologies and nationwide coverage, Connexus Health stands as a valuable partner in the journey to minimise absenteeism and prioritise employee well-being.