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How much is absence costing your business?

£17 billion. That’s the annual cost to UK businesses of employee absence, according to ACAS. But what is employee absence costing you?

That £17 billion is just one eye-opening stat in a sea of absence related data. PwC puts the figure as high as £29 billion, adding that UK workers take 4 times the number of sick days of their European counterparts. And the Department of Work and Pensions has estimated that working age ill health costs the economy £100 billion each year, with £4 billion lost from workers’ potential earnings.

Such vast figures make it difficult to relate absence costs in general to your business in particular. Fortunately, the CIPD has calculated the median average cost of absence per employee: £609. It’s higher in the public sector than the private, but on average that’s what sickness is costing your business, per employee.

The monitoring black hole

You’d think, given the sums involved, that most businesses would be meticulous in calculating the cost of absenteeism in their own individual workplaces, but it seems that’s not the case.

The CIPD’s 2014 survey found under two-fifths of workplaces monitired the cost of absence, and even that figure was skewed by the public sector, where increased sick levels have led to a greater instance of monitoring.

According to a 2015 survey by Timeware, 46% of respondents said their organisation did not monitor the cost of employee absence. And this figure represents direct costs such as lost productivity and hiring agency staff. Factor in the indirect costs of employee absence, such as training and supervision of cover staff, increased re-work time, missed appointents and postponed meetings – figures that are often far harder to quantify with certainty – and that figure looks even weaker.

Does monitoring matter?

Does knowing the state of your workplace absence really matter? After all, sick is sick – what’s to be done about it? Yet the evidence suggests data can inform the actions that help change habits.

The CIPD Absence Management Annual Survey Report 2014 found that an increased focus on attendance strategies reduced absence levels. In the public sector, that reduction amounted to 1 day per person between 2013 and 2014.

Absence management and your business

The public sector may have been starting from a vastly inflated absence base compared to the private sector, but the message is clear: with the data to support your strategies, you can reduce the amount of workplace absence.

They key is having that data, and that’s what an absence management system – like the ones included with Addtime’s Lite and Platinum+ systems – can do.

Because only when you can see the state and cost of absence – holiday, sick and other – across your business can you do something about it.

To explore how we can help you manage absence more effectively in your business, please contact us.

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