By Daniel Hunter

New research from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the trade body for the group risk industry, has found that over four in five employers (82%) now pro-actively record, monitor and manage absence.

This is encouraging as it clearly indicates businesses are aware of the importance of monitoring and recording absence as part of an overall health and wellness policy.

What’s more, almost half of employers (48%) even appear prepared to go as far as publishing their absence stats in their annual report and accounts, with over a quarter (27%) already doing so - suggesting the emergence of a far more open work culture where absence management is not brushed under the carpet but addressed head on.

Ultimately, reporting absence could be highly significant with regards to corporate governance. In the future, companies may be judged as much on how they manage absence as on their executive remuneration and shareholdings.

Not only is this recognised by employers but the Government has acknowledged the importance of managing absence effectively in its response to the Sickness Absence Review and with this year’s Budget granting tax relief on interventions targeted at minimising absence and speeding an employee’s return to work.

“It’s great that employers are starting to wise up to the importance of recording absence in the workplace and the benefits this brings to their business — particularly at a time when their positive efforts are mirrored by Government," Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, commented.

“Even more exciting is that this could mark the start of a more open environment where ensuring the health and well being of the workforce is seen as part and parcel of the employer’s duty of care.

“If a new culture of openness prevails, positive moves to manage absence such as implementation of a Group Income Protection policy can be communicated to a larger audience — paving the way for more businesses to make genuinely effective steps to minimise the impact of absence.”

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