Schools are impacted more than most organisations by high rates of absence and a lack of continuity when delivering education and pastoral support. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)'s 2023 survey has indicated concerning trends in employee sickness absence. The average number of sick days taken rose to 7.8, from 5.8 in 2019, with COVID-19 contributing to short-term absence.
Stress-related absence has been cited as the main reason for absence affecting 76% of organisations, primarily due to heavy workloads and management style.
Organisations are also seeing presenteeism and leaveism persist in the workplace, with 87% of organisations surveyed reporting employees coming to the workplace while unwell and 63% observing employees using time off for work-related tasks.
Addressing absence is a focus for many employers. This is through a combination of reviewing underlying factors and improving well-being support, alongside the effective implementation of policies to effectively tackle absence. Over half of organisations surveyed have adopted standalone wellbeing strategies, and senior leadership is committed to promoting wellbeing in 69% of cases. There has is updated guidance from the Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on this topic including sick pay, fit notes, time off for dependants, and absence policies.
Managers usually play a critical role in managing absence, from ensuring that absence is reported and captured accurately, that return-to-work interviews are undertaken consistently and effectively, and that employees returning to the workplace after extended absence are supported. Despite this, it is interesting to note that the survey shows that manager training to support employees with health conditions remains inadequate, with only 30% of organisations providing such guidance.
Should you like to discuss support with reviewing your approach to managing wellbeing, absence management policies and/or training please do get in touch.