Public sector summary
in partnership with
puBliC SECTor SuMMAry
Overall summary of findings
The findings of the CIPD’s 2014 Absence Management survey, conducted in partnership with Simplyhealth, show that the average level of employee absence has fallen compared with last year from 7.6 to 6.6 days per employee. Moreover, there is some indication of a fluctuating downward trend over the last few years. Positive findings suggest that organisations that actively engage in absence management and make changes to improve their approach do evaluate their efforts and generally report positive outcomes on absence levels. ...view middle of the document...
They need to regularly monitor, review and act on the data they collect regarding the level and causes of absence, to ensure their approach to absence and well-being is relevant to their organisation’s specific issues. Demonstrating the impact of current initiatives is a crucial part of that. Just a fifth of organisations plan to access the new government Independent Assessment and Advisory Service (now called the Fit for Work Scheme), slightly fewer than last year, although many remain undecided. It will be important to improve dialogue regarding the service if its value is to be realised. Seventy per cent of organisations believe it is possible to reduce their absence levels. The main challenges they face, in terms of the most common causes of absence, include minor illness, acute conditions, musculoskeletal injuries, back pain, stress and mental ill-health.
Public sector summary
As in the private services and non-profit sectors, the average level of employee absence in the public sector has fallen compared with last year. Moreover, there is some indication of a fluctuating but generally downward trend in average levels of public sector absence (as well as in non-profit and private services organisations) over recent years (2014: 7.9 days; 2013: 8.7 days; 2012: 7.9 days; 2011: 9.1; 2010: 9.3).
More monitoring of absence in the public sector
The public sector leads the way in formal practices to monitor absence. Public sector organisations are more likely than the private to record their absence levels (91% versus 73%) and monitor the cost of employee absence (55% versus 30%). They are also more likely to use absence level as a key performance indicator (75% versus 55%) and twice as likely to have a target in place to reduce absence (60% versus 31%).
A wider range of approaches to manage absence
The public sector are more likely than the private to use a range of pre-emptive strategies to manage absence and promote attendance. In particular they are more likely than the private sector to provide flexible working, which can reduce illegitimate absence. They are also more likely to have specific policies or guidelines to support employees who are carers (36% compared with 15% of not-for-profits and 8% of the private sector) and provide leave for family circumstances.
Greater focus on promoting health and well-being
As we’ve found in previous years, the public sector is more likely to use a range of methods to promote good health and attendance. They are considerably more likely than the private sector to have a well-being strategy (69% versus 43%) and offer a range of benefits designed to promote health, well-being and work–life balance. They are also more likely to provide support for employees in the form of counselling services, employee assistance programmes and occupational health services. In addition, more public sector organisations include changes to...