Early intervention services can reduce the length of long-term sickness absences by 17%, according to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), commissioned by employee benefits provider Unum.

Its Benefits of Early Intervention report, which is based on estimations of the annual cost of long-term sickness absence to the UK economy in 2014 and draws on national statistical data sets and Unum’s proprietary group income protection claims data, also found that early intervention services to support employees with mental health conditions can reduce absence length by 18%.

The research also found:

  • Sickness absences cost an average organisation with 500 members of staff an estimated £770,000 a year.
  • The rate of long-term sickness absence is expected to grow by 4% by 2030.
  • Long-term absence durations for employees that suffer from musculoskeletal conditions are 12.3% shorter for staff who have access to early intervention and rehabilitation services.

Joanne Abate , assistant vice president, global health management at Unum, said;

By offering the use of early intervention services like vocational rehab or pointing staff towards services offered within employee assistance programmes (EAPs), employers can help tackle health issues before they become more serious, reducing both the personal and financial impact of long-term sickness absence. At present, many employers aren’t taking advantage of the early intervention services that might already be available to them through their benefits package.

Petaurum Solutions Comment

A very interesting read especially when looking at the cost of absence, which for large companies this report suggests is £1,500 per employee per year. Getting in early wherever possible to understand and address the causes of absence can not only provide benefits for employees, who know they have the support of their companies through their benefits schemes if they are unfortunate to fall ill, but also for employers who by providing proactive support can help reduce the cost of absence to their business. Think of it this way; if a 30 employee company can reduce sickness absence by 50%, then using these figures it could equate to a £20k plus saving a year, or the ability to employee one extra employee!!

If you are wanting to know more or are looking to implement a wellbeing scheme then talk to us as we have a wide range of experience in designing and implementing schemes that work.

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