Employees in the South East accounted for a whopping 590 days of absenteeism per 1,000 employees in the past three months alone. But it’s not all bad news when compared to the rest of the UK; only London has a better absenteeism rate out of all regions.
This is just one of the statistics revealed following the launch of a report, the “Absence Management Barometer”, by workplace absence management specialists, FirstCare.
The data is gathered from the UK’s first, most complete and accurate source of information drawn up from monitoring more than 13 million days of absence across more than 180,000 employees.
It revealed that in March, April and May of this year, 0.59 days were lost per employee (DLPE) in the South East. The North East were the worst offenders with 0.92 DLPE.
The North West and then the West Midlands closely followed Wales in second place. London had the lowest rates of absenteeism with almost half the amount of days lost as people in the North East at 0.5 DLPE.
The biggest cause for absenteeism in the South East was mental health issues, with 117 days lost per 1,000 days across the region for May alone. The second being musculoskeletal issues. These two conditions dominate the top two places across the whole of the country.
This report follows the launch of the ‘Change at Work’ report in March where it was revealed some £18 billion is lost to the UK economy every year due to absenteeism, and it exposes some very interesting trends.
David Hope, CEO for FirstCare, said: “The high rates of absenteeism in the South East will of course be the topic of many conversations and assumptions will be made, but what is crucial to remember is that this is a serious report, updated quarterly and vetted by professionals.
“There may be key underlying differences in demographic, climate and industry sector that impacts upon these results.
“The data must be used by employers to recognise where improvements can be made and how to effectively manage staff wellbeing, particularly when being introduced back into the workplace, and how pathways for work-life balance can be built as a two-way conversation.”
On a wider scale, the report discovered women are more likely to be absent from work than men – with women contributing an additional 2.8 million days of absenteeism than men in the past three months alone.
In addition, the man flu myth has been exposed because the time taken off for colds, coughs and flu-like symptoms between the sexes is identical and equates to 0.36 DLPE.
But it’s not all bad news for women. Over the past five years, DLPE for men have been on the increase while the reverse is true for women. A study of May’s statistics highlight a 19 per cent increase in absenteeism in men since 2012 while absenteeism in women has decreased by 17 per cent.
The FirstCare service is designed to provide health and wellbeing advice from day one to help speed up recovery and return to work. It brings together three elements that are key to improving productivity through reduced absence: nurse-led wellbeing care, simple admin for everyone in an organisation and real-time data and reporting.
Updated quarterly, the Absence Management Barometer utilises information from the nurse-led absence system, with the data then used as a benchmarking tool for UK businesses to help them reduce absenteeism and their corporate health costs.
It tracks absence through a variety of parameters, including sector, industry, job role, medical condition, gender, age group, region, service length and employment status. The average organisation loses approximately £1,000 per employee each year due to absence.
Updated daily, all stats can be viewed live on the FirstCare website while the report can be downloaded each quarter on the day it is published.
Not only does it give an account of the previous quarter’s trends on absenteeism, it also predicts absenteeism rates for the following quarter to help employers plan and manage staff wellbeing. This is based upon data from previous years where trends tend to align with seasonal adjustments and major, annual events.