The survey of over 300 firms undertaken over two years showed absences have fallen to 4.9 per worker per year.
This may seem like good news but two further pieces of information completely overshadow this item. Employers reported an increase in mental health problems amongst workers. The EEF said this “possibly reflects, for the first time, evidence of the effect on employees of the long period of recession and austerity”.
So although minor short-term absences have fallen, serious long-term illnesses have risen.
The EEF notes that manufacturers are having to invest in absence management and paying for treatment of these long term affected workers.
Just under 40% of companies say long term absence has increased over the last two years.
The EEF stated that “Despite employers increasing investment in managing sickness absence and, providing their employees with more health related benefits, the improvement in overall absence rates has more or less now plateaued.”
The productivity gap increases reflects this. Productivity is 12 percentage points lower than pre crisis levels and we are now 20 percent less productive than our cousins on the continent. This shows that the increased stress and strains of work is taking a real quantifiable toll on our economy.
Companies are allowing this productivity to continue as they themselves are unable to do anything as they are barely staying afloat. These new zombie companies are being kept alive by the government life support pumping cheap cash and tax payment delays. Once this is removed, likely within the next 6 – 12 months, the zombie nightmare will become a reality for the UK.