AWOL – Research shows absent trends


February has been identified as having the highest average rate of absenteeism across the first half of the year in a survey of 8,550 people from 68 companies. The research was carried out by ELAS Business Support and showed an average of 337 people a week called in sick during February, compared to 318 in March, 314 in June, 294 in January, 283 in May and 282 in April. The statistics also showed a huge spike in the absentee rate on Mondays. The consistent absentee numbers throughout the rest of the week indicate people might be taking advantage of a long weekend.

These new figures show that Mondays are consistently blue with the absentee rate almost double that of Fridays (1832 compared to 1046) across the first half of the year. 21.4 per cent of all employees surveyed called in sick on a Monday compared with just 12.2 per cent on Fridays.

May had two bank holidays so, unsurprisingly, was the only month where Monday did not have the highest number of absences. National Sickie Day (1st Feb) lived up to its name with the highest number of people absent from work, closely followed by Mon 22nd Feb. 86 people were absent on 16th May and 6th June while a total of 80 people called out from work on 18th January (Blue Monday).

April shows up as the healthiest month with the lowest number of absences recorded across the board.

“Employers should ensure they have robust return to work procedures in place, part of which should be to discuss in detail the reason why an employee was absent,” advises David Southall, consultant at ELAS. “Should a health issue be suggested, the employer could follow up by seeking to obtain a medical report; this will reveal whether or not the employee is properly addressing any underlying medical condition. Notes from all return to work meetings should be retained in case they need to be referred back to at future meetings with the same employee.”

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