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Taking the temperature of a nation

Published: 11 Nov 2014

Long-term absence, due to sickness, is still having a negative effect on our economy. For employers, that means it is more important now than ever before to consider company absence management carefully; to pro-actively deploy Group Risk policies, in particular Group Income Protection, for their employees’ welfare, and to make improvements in the working environment that can help individuals feel more valued, overall.

How can we be so sure of this fact? We’ve recently conducted research into absence and its causes, which shows that 25% of employers believe sickness has become more of an issue, not less, over the last few years*.

And still, the most common reasons amongst employees for taking sick leave, according to our research, are psychological issues (related to stress) and musculoskeletal problems – both of which can be reduced, in terms of their impact, by having a robust sickness absence policy in place and taking pro-active action to promote wellness.

Broader products, refined outcomes

Not surprisingly we found that employees believe the burden of responsibility for their care lies with the employer. So what else can a business do to manage its employees’ return to work after long-term absence?

Strategically, the best plan of action starts with record-keeping. Opening lines of communication with employees, looking at recurring absenteeism and trying to identify the causes for underlying conditions. We know, the longer an employee is off, the more damage it does to their confidence and overall mental health – so a swift rehabilitation process is key, when it comes to ‘wrapping up’ the absence, eventually.

However, with a broad, well-managed absence management plan in place, a business is better equipped to handle the sometimes ‘fluid’ nature of absenteeism in the middle: enabling employees to speak to an independent party, for example, who better understands what’s needed medically, and breaking down the ‘my boss won’t understand’ perceptions that still exist in some workforces today.

For more information, please speak to your account manager or contact us on          0800 145 5684 or

*Aviva Group Risk Absence Management research 2014-15.

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