Softworks Blog

December absence causes headache for HR

Posted by Triona Cahalane on Mon, Dec 5, 2011

December AbsenceBut four in ten blame ‘overindulgence’ for sick days

A recent survey by Bupa has suggested that excessive staff absence during December is causing a burden on HR departments with many HR officals suspecting that staff illnesses are not as they seem.

71% of HR professionals believe that December absence typically has workload implications for their HR Team. Almost 28% went one step further and said that dealing with extra absence led HR staff to feel more stressed during the Christmas Season. However 42% believe that the true cause of December absences is related to ‘overindulgence’ or ‘illness resulting from overindulgence’. Only 33% were convinced that absence rates were solely the result of an increase in genuine illness at this time of year.

The survey also revealed that half of HR managers regarded the under-30s as the most likely to take time off during December.

Dr Jenny Leeser, clinical director of occupational health at Bupa, said: "The winter months do see an increased rate of absence caused by seasonal illnesses, but the effect of the festive party season on the workplace cannot be ignored either.

Over three quarters (78%) of the companies surveyed have implemented policies to try to reduce December absence rates, with flu jabs (35% per cent), encouraging exercise through gym membership (17 per cent) and questioning staff suspected of taking sickies (33 per cent) popular responses.

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Topics: Absenteeism