Employees off work on long term sick leave fell by 12,000 between October and December compared with the same period in 2013.
According to figures from the Office of National Statistics, 131 million working days are lost due to sick leave in the UK every year with 2.03million people on long-term absence due to illness in December 2014.
During the same period the number of unemployed people fell by 97,000 to 1.86m meaning there is currently more on long term sick leave than are currently unemployed in the UK.
The number of people who were temporarily sick also dropped to 183,000. This figure was down 7.8% on the same period a year earlier but up 2.2% on the previous quarter.
To help manage sick leave and minimise cost implications of absenteeism, employers should introduce measures that enable them to manage the workforce consistently and minimise business implications.
A Time and attendance system integrated with Absence Management modules can assist employers with long-term sick leave issues by providing a clear insight into staff absences from which they can maintain productivity levels and plan future workflow with accuracy.
Integration with time and attendance creates a full audit trail of staff attendance so management can identify trends of absence immediately using Bradford Factor calculations.
Return to work
Pro-active management of long-term sick leave and staff absences enables managers to identify the reasons for the unplanned absence at the earliest opportunity, so they can gain a feel for the likely duration of the absence and support employees with their return to work.
For instance, the system may highlight that a member of staff is absent from work every other Friday. Further investigation may reveal that the employee has an underlying medical condition for which they are gaining treatment but were reluctant or embarrassed to inform managers.
Placing emphasis on the individual and their return to work can help to reduce the duration of the absence and its effect on the business.
Costs are also reduced as paid and unpaid leave is also accurately administered.