Stress. The top cause of long-term sickness absence

We all eagerly await the CIPD Absence report each year. We know that absence is a problem costing businesses many millions every year, but it’s interesting to see how the results change each year and what we can learn from them. This year, for the first time in the 12 years the report has been published, stress was highlighted as the main reason for long-term sickness leave. This confirms the results of a recent Kronos survey which also highlighted stress as a key reason for staff taking time off work.

It’s not surprising. Pay freezes, higher workloads and job uncertainty are bound to result in higher stress levels, which in turn lead to sickness absence.

Research shows that early intervention is key when dealing with stress related health problems and there are numerous tools in the market to help spot early warning signs such as repeated short-term sickness. As employers we need to spot the early signs, and create a culture where stress related illness could be a thing of the past.

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