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Sickness absence three times higher at large organisations

300,000 businesses do not record or monitor absence

Businesses with over 250 employees are more likely to have a significant absence issue among staff, research shows.

The survey from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the group risk trade association, found absence rates average 7.5 days per year at companies with over 250 employees, compared with 2.8 days at micro businesses with between one and nine members of staff.

The poll also found 5% of HR decision makers admitted to not recording or monitoring absence at all, although this was more prevalent amongst SMEs (6%) than those with over 250 employees (1%).

According to GRiD, this equates to nearly 300,000 businesses across the UK who have no way of knowing how often staff are off sick, whether they have a legitimate reason for being off work or whether specific individuals take more sick leave than others. 

More than half (55%) of large businesses believe they have a higher sickness absence rate than their industry average, with 25% of these putting it down to ineffective absence management.  

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said although no single organisation can expect to be an expert on every one of the issues its staff faces, the right group risk product can provide access to help which can enable people to stay at or return to work. 

“Keeping tabs on every single member of staff at a larger firm is by no means an easy feat – particularly for companies whose staff travel between or work in multiple locations. However, many of these companies may well already have group risk products in place whereby they can access support for individuals and the organisation as a whole, without requiring any additional expertise or spend,” she added.