Survey finds managing sickness absence a key requirement

Effective management of employees̵7; rehabilitation and return to work after sickness absence will be a key requirement for manufacturers in their dealings with an increasingly ageing workforce.

This is one of the findings of a survey: ̶0;An ageing workforce - how are manufacturers preparing?̶1;, published by EEF, the manufacturers̵7; organisation.

Companies responding to EEF̵7;s survey felt that older workers were more likely to be absent long-term when they were sick, a view consistent with findings reported in EEF̵7;s sickness absence and rehabilitation survey, published in 2007.

A significant proportion of the manufacturers surveyed (30 per cent) were concerned that the number of days lost owing to absenteeism/sickness was likely to rise as the workforce became older. However, loss of specialist skills owing to retirement was a far greater concern, expressed by 76 per cent of respondents.

The manufacturing sector has a higher proportion of workers aged between 35 and 55 compared with the workforce as a whole, and fewer workers aged between 16 and 24.

̶0;The shortage of skilled workers in manufacturing means it is all the more important to ensure that no one falls through the net for want of practical support from their employer in helping them back to work after sickness,̶1; said Sayeed Khan, EEF̵7;s chief medical adviser.

Companies are beginning to adapt to the challenges of an ageing workforce, particularly with regard to rehabilitation and return to work policies - 12 per cent of those surveyed were either implementing these policies as an explicit response to the ageing of their workforce or were considering doing so.

EEF̵7;s award-winning Managing Sickness Absence Toolkit offers advice and guidance on many of the issues linked to an ageing workforce. The toolkit combines expertise in HR, occupational health and the law to provide checklists, sample letters, forms and guides for line managers. It is available for £65 to members and £95 to non-members from EEF̵7;s online bookstore.

Further information:

Image: Managing employee sickness is a growing concern for employers

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