Record 10-year high number of workers taking sick leave

Latest research by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) has revealed a startling trend in sick leave: staff absences have skyrocketed to an average of 7.8 days over the past year! This is up from 5.8 days pre-pandemic in 2019 and stands at the highest rate since 2010.

Common reasons for taking sick leave

The CIPD analysed sickness, absence and employee health among 918 organisations, representing 6.5 million employees, and found the most common factors for absences were:

  • Stress – 76% of respondents had taken time off due to stress in the year prior.
  • Covid – 37% reported Covid as the reason for their short-term absence.
  • Long Covid – 50% of respondents had experienced long Covid (symptoms of 12 weeks or more), which increased from 46% the previous year.
  • Mental health – 63% of respondents had been affected by mental health issues, making it the main cause of long-term absence. It was also cited by 43% of people as the reason for taking a few days off work.
  • Colds and musculoskeletal problems – Cited as the main reasons for short-term absences.
  • Poor wellbeing – The cost of living crisis and high interest rates have affected people’s wellbeing, resulting in staff needing to take time off work.

Naturally, the rise in absences can be worrying for businesses, with many being left short-staffed at the last minute. This is escalated further by reports of an increasing number of people who are considering career changes due to the rising cost of living. In a recent study, accountancy firm, KPMG, found that this is on the agenda for 40% of UK workers.

Common reasons for taking sick leave

Absence management

HR Planner’s comprehensive absence management module means you can stay on top of leave across your organisation. Our planner gives you an instant view of who is off and when, giving you the insights you need to help arrange cover.

Another handy tool is our Bradford Factor feature, which automatically calculates scores for each employee. By helping to flag patterns in unplanned absences, you’ll be able to identify potential issues early on and take the necessary supportive action to help root out absenteeism.

Flexible leave options

One of the key benefits of HR Planner is that you can tailor your experience to what you need it to be. This includes the potential to create unlimited custom leave types to help you monitor which of your team are away and for what reason.

Work schedules

Unsurprisingly, work-life balance has topped the charts as the most desirable employee benefit of 2023, meaning businesses should give consideration to flexible working if they want to attract and retain employees. In fact, a CIPD survey has found that 83% of people want to be able to make their hours work for them.

With HR Planner, you can create custom work schedules that will help to facilitate flexible working for all your employees. Because the platform can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world, it’s a great solution for both office and home-based teams.

Attract and retain staff

Offering support and training is a great way to attract employees and retain staff who may be considering a career change.

HR Planner’s documentation module is perfect for publishing resources to promote wellbeing and a good work-life balance, whilst the skills system will help you keep on top of training needs, serving as a positive incentive to support career progression.

Try HR Planner today with a free 14 day trial. For more information on the latest features, call our expert team on 01252 63 60 70 or email