UK loses £455 million as allergy absence hits its annual high

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The UK is set to lose £455 million across July and August as allergy absence hits its annual high.

Each year the UK loses around 3.2 million working days* due to allergy related absences, and the UK’s leading expert on absence is warning employers to brace themselves as we enter the peak two months for allergies.

The figures have been provided by FirstCare, who have been mapping absence trends for 9 years based on the data of 167,000 employees, across all major sectors of the UK economy, and show:

July and August will see a 75 percent increase in allergy related absence compared to any other month in the year.

In January, allergy absence remained at 265,330. A stark contrast to the results from July and August, where allergery absence lies at 424,292 and 414,480.

When considered against costs associated with sick pay, replacement staff and lost productivity/revenue, allergies are costing the UK economy £1.8 billion annually. **

The financial impact for July alone is £231 million and August £225 million.

The average length of an allergy absence was 3.66 working days (by comparison, headaches averaged 1.62 days, and diarrhoea and vomiting was 2.17 days).

James Arquette, FirstCare’s Chief Operating Officer, comments: “These figures are high – and they don’t take account of allergies’ contribution to other, longer causes of absence, such as respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal problems, colds, flu and ear, nose and throat issues.”

“The seasonality of allergies means employees and employers can take steps to reduce the impact of allergies,’ says James Arquette. “In addition to being proactive about self-care and seeking GP advice on allergy management, you can take advantage of the wealth of resource from Allergy UK, a charity that supports allergy sufferers. Organisations should also use the opportunity to review absence processes, making sure they’re publicising health and wellbeing offerings to employees and supporting managers with return-to-work interviews. A few hours spent on process reviews will pay dividends as it will reduce recurring absence rates.”

James Arquette concludes, “By adopting sensible absence management controls we believe that organisations can see significant reductions in absence. Our own clients have seen reductions of up to 58%, delivering a 546% return on investment and helping to improve operational performance.”

*Across the UK IN 2015, FirstCare recorded more than 17,000 days were lost to allergy-related absence. If this trend was to be extrapolated across the full UK workforce of 31.4 million, the total days lost across the UK due to allergies would be more than 3.2 million.

**Based on the CIPD calculation that 1 day of absence costs £544

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