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Presenteeism - an increasing challenge for employers

View profile for Julie Temple
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Presenteeism - an increasing challenge for employers

Two recent reports, one by Vitality in January 2019 and one by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in April 2019, have highlighted increases in so-called “presenteeism”.  Presenteeism refers to employees attending work when they are unwell. More than four fifths of the 1,078 employers across a range of sectors who were involved in the CIPD survey reported presenteeism in their workplace over a 12-month period. A quarter of these report that presenteeism has increased in the same 12-month period.

One of the problems for employers is that presentee employees are less productive.  Another is that the presentee employee is at work. Added to this is that, quite often, the cause (or at least a contributing factor) to the ill-health issue is a mental health condition, which the employee may or may not be aware of themselves and which employers are reluctant to raise. This makes spotting any health problem difficult. In turn, management processes and support are not started and put in place as quickly as they would be where an employee is absent or there are physical ill-health concerns. This often leads to a deterioration in the employees’ health and sometimes longer-term absence than might have been the case.

Somewhere along the line, someone needs to make the first step; whether it is the employee reaching out and acknowledging they need help and support, or the employer sitting them down and giving them the confidence to open up. What is clear is that doing nothing will only make the problem worse.

Whether you are an employee who feels you have ill-health issues and are still at work, or an employer with one or more presentee employees and you want to discuss your options, contact our friendly team of employment lawyers who offer a free no obligation 15 minute chat.

I am an employment solicitor based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217318 or julie.temple@birkettlong.co.uk. Alternatively, you can complete our online enquiry form.

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