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Sickies and Long-Term Absence Give Employers a Headache – CBI/AXA Survey

The latest CBI/AXA survey revealed that average absence in the public sector totalled 9 days - 55% higher than the 5.8 day average of the private sector, where absence figures reduced during 2007.In the public sector, the highest absence rates were found in health/social care services (12.6 days) and police and probation services (9.9 days), while education saw lower overall levels (7.5%). Absence is also influenced by other factors including organisation size, region, manual/ non-manual employment, job satisfaction and employee morale. Non-work related stress, anxiety and depression were the most significant causes of long-term absence among non-manual staff. The survey highlights the need for a fresh, proactive approach to managing long-term absence and reducing the uptake of incapacity benefit. The introduction of “fit notes” is invited by employers - helping them to understand what duties an employee can perform and allowing them to make arrangements where possible for an earlier or phased return to work.

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