First week of Spring sees soar in sickness absence
A combination of beautiful weather, the clocks going forward and last night’s England match has led to an increase in workplace absences today.
Absence management specialist the ELAS Group has seen a marked difference in the number of people calling in sick today when compared to the last couple of Mondays. As of 10am today, their data shows more people have called in sick than did by this time on National Sickie Day, which this year fell on 6th February. More people have also called out sick so far today than did for the whole day on Monday 13th March.
Jacob Demeza-Wilkinson, employment law consultant for the ELAS Group, says:
“Today we’ve seen the perfect storm of conditions which has led to a rise in absenteeism – when you combine a Monday morning with the day after a big match, then throw in the beautiful weather we have been having where the UK has been as warm as Spain, then it can be tempting for employees to decide they would rather not go to work.
“We always see higher absence rates on Mondays but today it has been particularly noticeable. Whether employees drank too much over the weekend or simply wanted to enjoy an extra day in the sun, as far as employers are concerned there’s simply no excuse for pulling a sickie.
“It is acceptable to challenge employees on their levels of absence, or the reasons given for absence if you feel they may not be genuine. You should look our for employees who seem to have more Mondays off than any other day of the week and speak to them. Use of the Bradford Factor or smart software can help identify patterns. Software has been proven to reduce our clients’ absentee rates by up to 62%.”
Absence management specialist Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence added:
“Managers should not assume automatically that staff are ‘pulling a sickie’, but the sad fact is that some of them are likely to be.
“Having a ‘vibe’ about someone’s tendency to take sick days is not enough, absence management software will help you identify who is genuinely sick and who always skives off on Mondays, Fridays and Bank Holiday Tuesdays and do something about it.
“Should this beautiful weather continue, if you don’t have software that identifies trends, I’d advise employers to keep a close eye on the weather forecast ahead of Easter Tuesday – and book temporary staff ahead of time. However, hiring a few temps to cover just that one day could well pay for absence software for a whole year – certainly something to think about.”