Sickness rises by a quarter across UK manufacturing firms

Posted on 6 Jan 2014 by The Manufacturer

New survey reveals increase during last 12 months

A new survey has revealed manufacturing bosses in the UK have seen staff absence levels rise in the last 12 months by 25 percent.

The Close Brothers Business Barometer, which canvasses the opinion of SME owners from sectors across the UK on a quarterly basis, revealed over a third of respondents in the manufacturing industry believe their organisation has a problem with employees abusing sick leave.

72 percent of employers surveyed in the sector cited minor illnesses, such as the flu, to be the main cause of employee absence, with post-operative recovery the second most common reason for time off work.

Steve Gee, managing director of the manufacturing division at Close Brothers Asset Finance, said while the majority of sick leave taken is genuine, absenteeism is a growing problem for many UK manufacturing firms and could negatively impact productivity levels.

“Our research suggests that a considerable number of employers are concerned about the level of non-genuine sickness within their organisation,” he said.

Mr Gee added: “That is why it is important that unauthorised absence is managed consistently and fairly to help minimise the impact on the wider workforce and ensure diligent colleagues aren’t left to pick up the slack on a regular basis.”

The Business Barometer further revealed that the ‘fit note’, which was introduced by the government to help minimise the cost of absenteeism, does not seem to be as effective as first hoped.

As many as 17 per cent of employers in the manufacturing industry say it has not lived up to their expectations.