Report reveals the absence support measures employees value

Employees want flexible hours after time off sick

An absence management report published today shows which sickness absence support measures employees truly value.

Aviva’s annual absence management report shows that 41% of employees surveyed want as much time off as possible when ill to help accommodate and assist their recovery, while a third would like the flexibility to build their hours up gradually when they return.

Just over half say they would like flexible working hours and 35% want to know they have a regular income if they are off sick.

The biggest concern employees say they would have if they were off sick is their recovery, followed by making ends meet financially.

The research also reveals the impact an absent employee can have on the workplace, with 40% of employers saying that if a worker is away someone else has to pick up the work.

Furthermore, 27% say productivity falls and 22% believe it affects the business financially, while 21% say standards suffer.

The report also shows that 17% of employers are seeing other members of staff go off sick when their colleagues are off long term.

To help keep absence levels down, over a third of employers say they encourage staff to have a good work-life balance, while one in five offer private medical insurance and 13% offer group income protection.

Aviva says the report shows there is some evidence that employers recognise the value of early intervention, with 20% providing staff training to help them spot the signs of stress.

Over a third of employers, however, still rely on employees to tell them when they are unwell.

Steve Bridger, head of group risk at Aviva UK Health, said: “Sickness absence not only has a knock-on effect on other employees, but adds to the business concerns of employers as a whole.

“While it is encouraging that employers are implementing preventative measures to help them control the effects of sickness absence, take-up of one of the most effective solutions - group income protection - is still relatively low.”

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