Sickness presence may cause a problemWhile absence management may be one of the workplace issues HR departments find the most troublesome to their businesses, sickness presence could be just as damaging.

Indeed, the Work Foundation has warned that the cost of working while ill could either equal or account for 1.5 times more working hours lost than the cost of sickness absence.

Furthermore, the hidden costs of presenteeism may not be realised due to firms missing out on opportunities to improve workplace productivity, in addition to staff health and well-being.

The research, which was commissioned by AXA PPP, found 45 per cent of respondents admitted to working one or more days when they were ill.

Lead author Katherine Ashby said: “In the current economic climate, with high job insecurity making employees more wary of taking time off, understanding the causes and effects of sickness presence is crucial.”

Measuring sickness presence was equally important to monitoring absence and could help to provide a clearer picture of a company’s health-related productivity losses, she added.

Elsewhere, Kronos research has revealed that the majority of employers do not believe that the introduction of new fit notes will help them in terms of absence management.

Posted by Colette Paxton