The cost of employee absence UK, in terms of its financial impact, is something that all businesses need to consider and manage. Whatever the sector they operate in and regardless of whether they have staff who work full-time or part-time.
The reasons for absence can vary from one person to another, but the results are the same – you could be losing out on productivity and profitability while your business pays out money that it can ill afford to lose.
Here we look at employee absence from both the perspective of UK businesses.
We’ll also explore some of the different ways to address and control employee absence where appropriate.
Scope of employee absence in the UK
Despite how often you may hear them, there are no absolute figures that define the scope of employee absence in the UK.
This means there is no way to know with absolute certainty just how many days workers in the UK miss for non-medical reasons each year.
But, we can make an educated guess based on some facts and statistics from different studies:
Looking at the other measures of sickness absence, 118.6 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury in the UK in 2020, equating to 3.6 days lost per worker. These are the lowest levels since records began in 1995.
This absence number is particularly low due to the amount of ‘furloughed’ workers during 2020. There’s no calling in sick if you’re not working.
Cost of absence for UK business
If your workers are paid minimum wage (as of April 2022) for an eight-hour shift:
£9.50 x 8 x 3.6 = £273.6 per worker cost per year.
And this is on a good year.
In 2015, employee absence cost UK businesses an estimated £17.3 billion.
3 million working days were lost due to employees being off sick and another 4 million were lost due to workers taking time off for other reasons such as education, family responsibilities or personal reasons.
Steps to reduce employee absence
The first step is to understand why people miss work.
In general, there are two types of absence – planned and unplanned.
The main reason for planned absences is annual leave.
Unplanned absence is generally caused by sick leave or personal reasons.
Several factors are also key drivers: employee health, physical well-being, stress at work and job security and/or poor management/bullying at work.
So firstly working out why you have a higher rate of absence is key.
Installing an Absence Management system such as Employee Attendance Cloud will help you track your absences – so you can see how your company compares to the national average.
Once you work out your scope of employee absence, you can start diving into the main reasons why.
Discover your employee absence trends and work with your team to fix any issues that keep your workers from fulfilling the job.
Obviously, illness is real. As is burnout. You can never expect 100% attendance or perfection. Your employees are human after all.
But what you can start to do is minimise any unnecessary absence and help boost your working culture and productivity by addressing any issues head-on.
How to track employees
If you’re a business owner, this is vital to ensure your workforce doesn’t have too many days off and productivity slips.
Cloud-based software is designed to do just that, track when an employee clocks on and off every day.
That way, if an employee calls in sick or takes a vacation day, you can make sure they’ve not taken too many days and fill any missing labour links.