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What is absence and illness management?

The aim of absence and illness management is to advise employers on the management of both short- and long-term sickness absence.

The longer an employee is off work on sick leave, the less likely they are to return, creating a costly, time-consuming, and sometimes stressful recruitment situation for businesses (and their employees, who may have experienced increased workplace pressure due to understaffing).

“An inclusive and healthy business culture promotes preventative action and early intervention.”

The FOHCUS occupational health team can advise businesses on the timely rehabilitation and resettlement of employees on their return to work. As part of our sickness absence and case management procedures, we will also advise on the suitability of ill health retirement.

What is the impact of short- and long-term sickness absence for an employer or business?

A 2023 study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that employee sickness absence is at the highest level reported for over a decade, with mental ill health, musculoskeletal injuries, acute medical conditions, and stress being the most common causes of long-term absence.

Specifically, public sector workers are more likely to feel exhausted and under excessive pressure at work, and in general, the report found that employees tend not to discuss their health issues with their boss or employer. Subsequently, the cost of an absent workforce on the UK’s economy is estimated at £100bn each year – that’s over £500 per employee.

What are the benefits of early intervention absence management?

  • helps employers sustain low levels of sickness absence.
  • supports line managers to effectively manage ill health in the workplace.
  • improves employee wellbeing, health awareness and sustainability of health at work.
  • ensures you meet your legal obligations as an employer and therefore avoid potential legal action, hefty fines, and damage to the employer brand.
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