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The finance and insurance sectors have one of the lowest rates of absenteeism, it has been revealed.

David Hope

David Hope

Drawn up from monitoring more than 13 million days absence across more than 180,000 employees, this sector accounted for 3.91 Days Lost Per Employee (DLPE) over the past 12 months.

Only the entertainment industry had a better absence rate in the past year, with 3.38 DLPE, and it is still well below the national average of 7.2.

This is just one of the statistics revealed in a quarterly Index report, the “Absence Management Barometer” compiled by absence management specialists, FirstCare.

The report looks at data taken from the company’s nurse-led absence system, which is then used as a benchmarking tool for UK organisations to help them to reduce absenteeism and manage their corporate health costs.

Industry breakdown

And, in the first breakdown by industry sector, the NHS had the highest, closely followed by charities, housing and councils.

David Hope, CEO for FirstCare, said: “We saw mixed results across all industry sectors which demonstrates that when it comes to managing absence in the workplace there is no “one size fits all” solution.

“For this 12-month period the finance and insurance sectors returned absence rates below the national average – which is encouraging. It demonstrates that the right procedures are in place and that employees’ health and wellbeing are at the fore.”

There is a clear variance in trends across all sectors. For example, people working in retail are likely to have greater interaction with members of the public and therefore more susceptible to picking up illnesses passed on to them.

Likewise the education sector where front-line staff have to potentially deal with hundreds of children – and hundreds of “bugs”, too – needs to be managed accordingly. Albeit only in short stints as, unsurprisingly, this sector sees a dramatic drop in absenteeism in the summer months when holidays are taken.

Construction, engineering and manufacturing (grouped together) and the transport industry, on the other hand, are more prone to musculoskeletal strains and stresses. The former returning 8.47 DLPE over the 12 months.

Absenteeism up in summer months

This is the second Index to be issued by FirstCare, and August saw a seven per cent rise in DLPE over May, which when normalised to the working population of 31 million, equates to an additional 1.25 million people taking time off sick during the summer months.

David Hope, CEO for FirstCare, said: “While we anticipate the winter months continually create challenges for employers and managers, summer surprisingly bring its own issues.

“Rotas have to be reorganised as staff take holidays, while there is also the risk of employees taking time off for surgery caused by injuries as extra curricular activities and excursions are more commonplace when the sun is shining.

“Added to this, children being off school for a number of weeks can add strain and stress in the home – this should not be underestimated or taken lightly.”

This data exists to help organisations recognise this and support them with their absent management policies. David added: “If employers can do just one thing here, it would be to recognise their occupational hazard.”

The report can be accessed via

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