Two in five (40%) UK employers have seen sickness absence rates improve over the past 12 months, according to research by group risk industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).
Its Group risk employer research found that this was a 6% increase on last year. In comparison, just 15% of respondents felt sickness absence rates worsened.
Just under two-thirds (62%) of respondents said that the reduction in absence rates was down to good morale in the workplace.
One in five (21%) of respondents put it down to health and wellbeing initiatives supporting staff.
However, more than a third (36%) put the improvement down to staff anxiety about losing their jobs if they did not come into work.
The research also found that return-to-work interviews remain the most common strategy to help reduce absence, with 30% of employer respondents utilising these.
Katherine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that employers have various strategies in place to prevent and manage absence, and the fact that this has dropped could be down to the benefits of these initiatives filtering through the business.
“However, sickness absence is costing 62% of employers questioned between 1 and 4.99% of their overall payroll, highlighting the need for a long-term strategy to ensure good morale across the workplace and promote health and wellbeing to keep employees in work.
“Absence rates may be improving, but it’s vital to keep these initiatives going to cushion against future absences and avoid any surprise costs.”