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What The Latest CIPD Data Says About Employee Absence

A stethoscope to help illustrate absence and sickness management.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) has released a report on the state of Health and Wellbeing in the UK.

This report has been put together to assess how companies and organisations are dealing with the absence, sickness, wellbeing and mental health of their employees.

Read our summary below to find out what is happening with employee absence across the UK’s economy.

The CIPD & SimplyHealth Wellbeing At Work Survey

We know from listening to our clients that absence per employee is on the rise, but just how much has it risen? Why is it rising? And what can employers do to help mitigate the losses of absence to their businesses?

The CIPD has teamed up with SimplyHealth to produce this report that details many different facets of absence within the workplace.

The report covers many topics, but we have picked out one or two of the main areas that give a rounded view of employee absence across sectors and per head.

Sickness, Absence & Wellbeing in the Headlines

The average employee sickness rate rose to 7.8 days per employee, or 3.4% of working time lost.

This is the highest level of absence in over a decade.

This also means that employees are, on average, taking 2 days more than they were pre-pandemic in 2020.

A quarter of organisations surveyed reported an average annual sickness rate of 10 days or more, nearly twice as many as in 2020.

Graph showing absence days per employee by year
Fig 1:  Ave Employee Absence Per Annum


Graph showing average number of days lost per employee by sector.
Fig 2: Ave Days Lost Per Employee By Sector


Graph showing methods used for managing stress.
Fig 3: Methods Used to Manage Absence


CIPD reports that most organisations (97%) are using some form of absence management to help mitigate the loss of productivity.

These range from return to work meetings, support to attend therapy, disciplinary and capability procedures and trigger management, such as the Bradford Factor.

How to Avoid Absence Due to Sickness, Health & Wellbeing?

Absence is a difficult area to manage well and needs a well-thought-out strategy to combat the effects of continuous employee absence.

Business Owners and Directors need to study the data they have on absence over as long a period as possible.

Three to five years (excluding the COVID-19 period) is a good period to look at.

From this data, patterns of absence timing, reasons, and employee identification are likely to emerge.

Positive and early management of sickness absence is vital to avoid longer periods of lost time.

Once this data has been analysed, an organisation can then look at ways it could have avoided the lost days.

There are now many more potential solutions organisations can employ to help alleviate sickness and absence, but it will depend on the outcome of the data as to which ones would be the best fit.

If you would like to read more about the report, you can access it on the CIPD website.

If you need any help or advice on managing absence, then please give us a call on 01903 754 107 or contact



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