Work-life is key to lower sick leave

Work-life balance is the key to reducing absence by minimising stress and non-genuine absence. Increased understanding among employers has also seen absence rates fall. In sickness and in health, a report commissioned by Working Families and the Employee Advisory Resource at Accor Services, revealed 46% of organisations had a fall in absence days over the last 12 months.

Some 25% of organisations recorded similar absence rates to last year, while 29% of organisations said absence rates grew worse. Stress was the most important factor contributing to absence, with the survey concluding it is responsible for "under 20% of all sickness absence".

Some 78% of those surveyed have policies on managing absence. Line management involvement (88%) was revealed to be the most common tool of absence management, and was rated 79% effective. Flexible working options were the second most common absence tool (84%), with bosses reporting an 86% success rate.

Return-to-work interviews (76%) are also seen as an effective way of controlling absence, with 84% success. With 51% of respondents employing less than 250 people, the survey reflected a tendency for lower rates of absence among small organisations.

The report costs £20; available by calling Ali Garfath on 020 7253 7243.Source: Accor Services/Working Families Source: DTI