More than a third (34%) of respondents have seen absence rates improve over the past 12 months, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).
Its research, which surveyed 500 UK employers, found that only 16% of respondents have seen their absence rates worsen in the past 12 months.
It found that two-thirds (63%) of respondents felt the improvement in absence rates was down to good morale in the workplace, while 44% cited the fear of redundancy and anxiety about jobs, 35% cited presenteeism and 31% cited staff shortages.
The research also found that 81% of respondents said absence management is a key component of business organisation.
Katharine Moxham (pictured), spokesperson for Grid, said: “Absence in the UK workplace is now costing 56% of employers between 1% and 5% of their overall payroll, which highlights the value of keeping employees in work and in good health.
“It’s great to see that employers are wising up to the importance of managing absence in the workplace and the benefits this brings to their business.
“It is also important for organisations to consider what provisions they have in place to ensure both the employee and the employer are adequately protected in case of long-term absence.
“The government has clearly recognised the crucial role of the employer in helping employees return to work as quickly as possible and has proposed additional support to help them facilitate this through the new Health and Work Service, due to be launched later this year.
“The group risk industry has many years’ experience of vocational rehabilitation and employers with a group income protection policy in place are already well equipped to manage an employee’s absence and provide the support they need to get back to work.”