The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced a new probe into workplace sickness and the effect it has on the economy, in an effort to cut Britain’s annual illness absence bill of £100 billion.

Prime minister David Cameron confirmed last week that an independent review will be conducted into the matter, looking at ways in which sickness can be better managed to ensure employees stay in work in some capacity where feasible.

“Managing sickness absence more effectively will be a win-win situation for all,” said employment relations minister Edward Davey. “It could improve productivity, boost growth and mean that many more people no longer have to rely on taxpayer handouts.”

His sentiments were echoed by British Chambers of Commerce director general David Frost, who claimed ill health has a “huge impact” on UK companies and insisted the current burden posed on employers is “unsustainable”.

Bosses seeking practical tips on improving staff happiness and reducing long-term absence should consider attending the forthcoming Stress Prevention & Mental Wellbeing Forum 2011, due to take place at London’s Canary Wharf on April 7th.

Posted by Ross George