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So if the rate in your organisation (do you know the rate?) is below this then you can congratulate yourself (a little). But 2.8% equates to about 6.5 days per employee per year adding £554 per employee to the payroll each year. What can you do?

There is a lot you can do and at comparatively low cost. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Have an attendance policy. This really should be your starting point. There are important features to include so it is worth taking some advice.
  2. Follow your attendance policy! One of the features should be to inform employees of your procedures for handling short term intermittent absence and long term absence. Make sure your policy includes procedures appropriate to each and follow them.
  3. Implement return to work interviews. So simple and yet so easy to shy away from. There is a structure for these interviews that puts the responsibility for managing attendance firmly on the employee. Incidentally such interviews need to be implemented across all employees; do not single individuals out.
  4. Examine stress levels in your organisation. Employees who cannot cope add massively to absence figures. Role ambiguity (where employees do not know what is expected of them), excessive workloads (and employees can create their own excessive workloads), bullying and harassment are just examples of factors that can lead to employee absence for “stress”.
  5. Use flexible working. Reducing hours for employees can increase job performance as shown here. Working long hours can have the opposite effect compromising long term health as suggested here.
  6. Encourage healthy pursuits. Encouraging employees to be healthy will reduce absence caused by relatively petty illnesses. It could be a cycle-to-work scheme, corporate social activities or any number of forms of exercise.