Do you have an issue with long term absence?

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The majority of organisations we work with have concerns around long term absence.

The impact on the individual, the manager, the team and the workload results in everyone being affected.  According to the 2015 CIPD Absence Management Survey Report, Long Term Absence has increased.

Are you aware that each year around 865,000 employee absences in England and Wales last for four weeks or more?

Even though this is the case, not enough is being done to support people back to work.  74% of employers in England and Wales feel that if they had more external support, employees would be able to return to work earlier following long term sickness absence (Redshift Research, August 2015).

It’s not just employers that suffer though;  63% of employees who have been off work for 4 weeks or more in England and Wales feel that with more external help they could have returned to work earlier (Redshift Research, August 2015).

The CIPD survey also showed that 26% of Long Term Absence is caused by stress (in non-manual workers). There is a massive cultural and commercial cost to long term absence and we need to do more to prevent people from going off sick in the first place and if they do go off we need to support them back to work as quickly as possible.

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Are you aware of the new Fit for work service? 

Fit for Work is a government scheme designed to support employees during their time off sick to ease them back into work. GP’s and employers are able to refer individuals who have been or are likely to be off sick from work for four weeks or more to this service of Health Professionals.

How does it work?

  • A health professional will assess the employee and identify the key issues
  • A return to work plan is devised by the health professional and employee and shared with the employer and/or the GP
  • The health professional will then support the employee to get back to work


Why is Fit for Work so important for employers and employees?

  • Government statistics show 815, 000 working people in England each year have sickness absence off four weeks or more. Without effective support a lot of individuals will find it difficult to return to work.
  • It helps the employee and employer to identify the obstacles preventing the employee from returning to work. These can then be addressed and solved.
  • Helps employers to manage health conditions and sickness absence.
  • Employees return back to work quickly.


It has been shown that Intervention at 4 weeks means employees are more likely to return to work!


This service can form an important part of your organisation’s Wellbeing and Absence Management Policy.  Please do pass this email onto your colleagues in HR.  Also, my team and I are currently offering a free no-obligation Wellbeing Consultation to support you in developing a Strategic Wellbeing Plan for 2016.  Please get in touch to book yours in!

For more information on how we can support you please contact support@ or call 0203 371 3219.


Have a wonderful day!

Neil Shah

Chief De-stressing Officer

The Stress Management Society