Workplace Absence And The Cost To Employees
25th October 2013
New research from insurance company LV= has underlined the importance of health and safety in the UK’s workplaces. Although industrial illness compensation and accident at work compensation claims can have a high impact on an enterprise’s bottom line, the effect injury and illness can have on employees can be even more serious, with the study showing that over the course of a lifetime, the average Brit takes a total of 360 days off because of ill health, or the equivalent of a year and a half of work.
The financial implications of this can be serious – LV=’s National Sickness Report found that 44% of people that have taken time off sick were forced to return to work before they considered themselves ready because of the financial implications of long-term absence. While many people are aware that they can make a personal injury claim to recover their losses if the illness was someone else’s fault, respondents were often unaware of other ways to maintain an income during sickness, with 52% of people saying they don’t know what their entitlements are under their company’s sick pay policy and with 38% of workers, or 7.8 million people nationwide, unable to receive sick pay cover from the company they work for. These individuals could be left with just £86.70 per week as Statutory Sick Pay if they are unable to work while sick.
Financial problems could therefore be likely to affect a huge number of employees if they become sick. A total of 26% of respondents said they don’t know how they would make ends meet if they had to go without their regular income due to injury or illness.
Only around 10% of people have enough money saved to support themselves for one year without an income, with 23% expecting their savings to run out after just two months. Nonetheless, 35% of people said they would use their savings to deal with a loss of income caused by illness.
Common Causes Of Workplace Absences
LV=’s research found that the leading cause of workplace absences is currently stress and depression, which causes an average of 81 days’ absence over a worker’s life. This could cost them a total of £4,671 if they only received Statutory Sick Pay and received the average UK wage of £26,664. The second-most common cause of workplace absence is a bad back, seeing the average worker take 57 days off and miss out on £3,215.
As personal injury solicitors have seen many times, bad backs are often directly caused by the negligence of employers. People who have taken time off because of musculoskeletal disorders that they believe are caused by their workplace should seriously consider speaking with a no win no fee solicitor to find out if they can recover their lost wages and receive personal injury compensation.
As a result, although the cost to businesses caused by employee sickness can be very significant, the cost to employees can be life-changing. Our personal injury solicitors therefore advise employees to think about how they will cope if they are unable to work, and advise companies to take their health and safety obligations incredibly seriously.