Women absent for 2.8 million more days in past three months

People in North East take twice as much time off as Londoners

Absenteeism costs the UK economy £18 billion per year

Data taken from more than 180,000 employees

Women are more likely to be absent from work than men, it has been revealed – with women contributing an additional 2.8 million days of absenteeism than men in the past three months alone.

This is just one of the statistics revealed today following the launch of a report, the “Absence Management Barometer”, by workplace absence management specialists, FirstCare.

The data is gathered from the UK’s first, most complete and accurate source of information drawn up from monitoring more than 13 million days of absence across more than 180,000 employees.

It revealed in the months March, April and May of this year, 0.55 days were lost per employee (DLPE) for men compared with 0.64 for women. When normalised to the working population of 31 million, this means that our female workers accounted for more than 19.8 million days lost compared with 17 million for male colleagues.

In addition, the man flu myth has been exposed because the time taken off for colds, coughs and flu-like symptoms between the sexes is identical and equates to 0.36 DLPE.

But it’s not all bad news for women. Over the past five years, DLPE for men have been on the increase while the reverse is true for women. A study of May’s statistics highlight a 19 per cent increase in absenteeism in men since 2012 while absenteeism in women has decreased by 17 per cent.

David Hope, CEO for FirstCare, said: “This index follows our ‘Change at Work’ report issued earlier this year where it was revealed some £18 billion is lost to the UK economy every year due to absenteeism, and it exposes some very interesting trends.

“Not least that women accounted for almost 3 million DLPE in the past three months alone. The trends suggest this is changing but it appears to be a slow process.”

The FirstCare service is designed to provide health and wellbeing advice from day one to help speed up recovery and return to work. It brings together three elements that are key to improving productivity through reduced absence: nurse-led wellbeing care, simple admin for everyone in an organisation and real-time data and reporting.

Updated quarterly, the Absence Management Barometer utilises information from the nurse-led absence system, with the data then used as a benchmarking tool for UK businesses to help them reduce absenteeism and their corporate health costs.

It tracks absence through a variety of parameters, including sector, industry, job role, medical condition, gender, age group, region, service length and employment status. The average organisation loses approximately £1,000 per employee each year due to absence.

Updated daily, all stats can be viewed live on the FirstCare website while the report can be downloaded each quarter on the day it is published.

Not only does it give an account of the previous quarter’s trends on absenteeism, it also predicts absenteeism rates for the following quarter to help employers plan and manage staff wellbeing. This is based upon data from previous years where trends tend to align with seasonal adjustments and major, annual events.

The regional data also reveals a few surprises. For example, people of the North East are twice as likely to be absent from work than Londoners – 0.92 DLPE versus 0.49.

David added: “The north / south divide will of course be the topic of many conversations and assumptions will be made, but what is crucial to remember is that this is a serious report, updated quarterly and vetted by professionals.

“There may be key underlying differences in demographic, climate and industry sector that impacts upon these results.

“The data must be used by employers to recognise where improvements can be made and how to effectively manage staff wellbeing, particularly when being introduced back into the workplace, and how pathways for work-life balance can be built as a two-way conversation.”

The report can be accessed viawww.firstcare.eu/index