Absenteeism: the new British disease

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The cost to UK businesses from absenteeism runs to nearly £32bn a year, reports our sister site HR Zone.

From research among 2,000 companies PwC consultants estimated that UK workers take 10 unauthorised days off from work each year. The number is similar to the average level of absenteeism in Western Europe (9.7 days), but is significantly higher than the 4.5 days average in Asia, and the US rate of 5.5 days.

PwC HR consulting partner Richard Phelps said a conservative estimate of the cost to UK business was £32bn, given that it reflects only the direct cost of absence and not those costs related to lost productivity or potentially replacing staff to fill gaps.

“Absenteeism is a malaise for British business,” he said.

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About Charlie Duff


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06th May 2011 11:22

Don't employ people and they won't be absent!

 ONe of the most interesting aspects of the outsourcing argument is not that you avoid the costs of employment, but that you reduce its risks.

Certainly in a number of high-stress roles, such as sales and marketing there is a powerful argument for offloading the problem. Recently I heard of one company that had brought in a new divisional director and within three weeks the whole department had called in sick, with half of them being told to stay off work due to 'occupational stress'.

From the company perspective this is very bad news - expensive head counts delivering nothing!

It's not surprising that outsourcing is becoming more popular in the UK - there is a large pool of talent available, and people who work for themselves tend not to ever throw a sickie, or demand a 'duvet day' ( remember those? large chunks of the PR industry still have them as a hangover from the 'noughties).

A properly structured outsourcing agreement with an external provider, especially in a field like marketing where 99% of the in house person's job is to manage external suppliers anyway, can reduce cost, improve output and eliminate absenteeism as well as a lot of other HR challenges.

Peter Smith


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