How To Reduce Sickness and Absence Rates

28 August, 2017 Blog, General

How To Reduce Employee Sickness and Absence Rates

Reducing your business’ sickness and absence levels can help increase employee productivity and save your organisation a significant amount of money, we have four things you can do that will contribute to reducing your absence rate.


It’s important for leaders throughout the business to engage with their teams and create a relationship with all of their employees so that they can communicate with them if there’s an underlying reason for their prolonged or regular absences. If your workforce feels pressure to return to work or don’t feel like they can approach their line manager about a particular issue your sickness and absence rate will be higher than expected.


According to the 2016 CIPD Annual Absence Management Report, only a third of organisations monitor the cost of employee absence; this is a concerning statistic when the median cost of absence per employee is £522. When companies are aware of the amount that employee absence costs their business they often choose more proactive methods to reduce the number of sicknesses and absences. To learn more about the cost that employee absences has on your business read our blog.

It’s important to measure your sickness and absence rate as well as the amount it costs your organisation. One method is the Bradford Factor also known as the Bradford Formula which is a scale used by companies as a way to measure employee absenteeism.

When you measure your employee sickness and absence, you can use the information to help you make proactive decisions based on your knowledge of current absence trends. For example, if your most common reason for absence is work related stress you can assess methods of reducing workloads or providing more support for your workforce.


Promoting information on how your workforce can improve their health and well-being can have a significant impact on your sickness and absence levels, using initiatives to educate employees on how their lifestyle choices affect their overall health can help people to make better decisions which ultimately reduces absence rates.

A shining example of an organisation with health and wellbeing initiatives who has seen a decline in absence rates is our client, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. As part of the Trust’s b well initiative, they created a mobile app to provide their workforce with expert health and wellbeing advice, the initiative proved to be successful and helped to reduce their sickness and absence rates by 5.4%.


It’s easy to think that a long term absence is not good for your business, but often a prolonged absence is due to a significant issue and as an employer if you provide support for employees they are going feel like they would like to return to work rather than they are being pressured. If you don’t have the resources to provide support directly, you can signpost your employee to the appropriate services.

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