Is absenteeism an issue for small businesses?

More than two thirds of UK employers see absenteeism as a growing issue, according to new research.

The Workplace Wellbeing report from Legal and General found that only 8% of bosses said they would never treat absenteeism as a threat to their firm.

After surveying 2,000 employees and 200 managing directors or HR managers, the research found the average estimated cost of employee absenteeism to businesses to be £120,000 annually.

To highlight the scale of the issue, 97% of employees said they would embrace methods that could reduce the costs associated with absenteeism.

For the purposes of the study, absenteeism was defined as being the practice whereby workers are regularly away from work without a good reason.

More than half of employers said the largest threat to their business would be a rise in long-term absences, with 43% saying they would be concerned about how they would cover the costs of completing the work of the absent member of staff.

The report highlights that long-term absences can have a big impact on the finances and longevity of a business, especially for firms with fewer employees.

Most key business figures recognised that it has the potential to become more on an issue in the future too – 68% of those surveyed believe it will be the case.

Another issue is that the costs associated with absenteeism are often not considered or mitigated for, meaning they can place pressure on company finances.

In severe instances it may lead to insolvency if work cannot be covered or a replacement member of staff found, although this is more likely in smaller firms where staff have more responsibilities.

If a business is struggling it is important to consider all of the available options before finding an appropriate solution – options reviews can help a business find the best way forward.

The key for a business is to act quickly and efficiently as soon as any issues arise.

By Phil Smith

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