The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) latest Absence Management report quantifies the number of employee absences per annum in the United Kingdom (UK) for 2010. The average number of days absent per employee for the various sectors are:

• public 9.6 days
• non-profit 8.3 days
• manufacturing and production 6.9 days
• private 6.6 days

Less than half of employers, the survey found, measure the cost of absenteeism. Those organizations that actively manage absences found the following strategies the most effective:

• return-to-work interviews
• trigger mechanisms to review attendance
• disciplinary procedures for unacceptable absence
• line managers equipped with information, skills and responsibility

Although the public sector is less prone to use disciplinary action to reduce the level of absences compared with other sectors, that sector more often uses strategies to promote good health in an effort to reduce absenteeism.

None the less, the global financial crisis has taken its toll on employee health and well-being. More than one in three employers reported an increase in stress-related absences and mental health problems. This is a significant increase from the one in five reported in the previous survey.

Used with caution, the level of employee absences is one of a number of key indicators for employee engagement and worker productivity. By proactively monitoring and seeking to uncover the underlying causes of high absence levels, organizations can lift employee health and motivation.


Annual survey report 2010 – Executive summary