Nearly a third of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) managers have admitted that their company does not have a sufficient system for recording staff absences, according to digital group risk insurer Ellipse.

In addition, almost a quarter (24%) said they didn't even know how the business records absences.

A separate study of 500 employees in SMEs across the UK found that 40% believe their employer does not manage absences well, with 24% claiming their bosses don't know about every sick day they have taken.

John Ritchie, CEO of Ellipse, said: “It is surprising to see such a large number of employers without processes for recording absence. Knowing where your people are and how they are is not only important to minimise long-term sick pay insurance costs but reduces the legal risk that comes from not keeping records.
“Managing absence is one of the basic building blocks for any successful business, whether a small, micro business or large multinational.”
Over half (54%) of employers record absences in a spreadsheet. However, 22% will only make a note in a handwritten document, 8% simply make mental notes and 4% state they do not record absence at all.
Employees recognise that their company could make changes to their absence process with 38 per cent stating that their company needs a better management system.
Mr Ritchie added: “The data from SMEs suggests that over a third don’t have even a basic system for recording absence. Implementing an absence management system would help employers to recognise long-term absence in the initial stages and intervene early on to keep their employees at work. You also need to know when someone has a health problem so that you can support and adapt their work.”
The majority of SME managers surveyed (60%) believe an absence management system would make their company’s process for recording and managing employee absence far better.