There has been a strong increase in long-term sickness absence within the UK manufacturing sector, according to new research.
A survey conducted by EEF consulted 306 engineering employers and discovered a 41 per cent increase in the level of long-term sickness absence over the past two years.
The EEF/Jelf Sickness absence survey 2016 also found 31 per cent of companies would pay for medical treatment for their staff if it felt it would improve productivity and boost morale, while many would cover the cost of workplace changes to help employees return to work.
It was also discovered that 27 per cent of companies do not have procedures in place to help support employees who have mental-health related long-term sickness leave.
Terry Woolmer, head of health and safety policy at EEF, explained having healthy employees was essential to economic growth.
He added: “However, currently we have long-term absence on the increase and an under pressure NHS which is struggling to deal with the issue.
“Government must now use fiscal incentives to encourage employers to pay for private medical treatment and allow it to be offset in the same way as other business expenses. Not only would this help take the pressure off the NHS, but it would allow a speedier return to work. This would be a win-win for government, the employee and employers.”
Mitrefinch offers absence management software which can help managers track time and attendance patterns and help to determine the cause of absences.