13 May 2011 #Employment
When so called "fit notes" were introduced last year it was hoped that they would result in a decrease in sickness absence levels. A survey by the CBI of 223 employers published this week shows that they have failed to achieve this, and in fact the UK average level of sickness absence has increased.
According to the results of the survey, the average level of sickness absence for each employee rose from 6.4 days in 2009 to 6.5 days in 2010.
Apparently this level of absence equates to 190 million lost working days, and costs employers around £17 billion.
The CBI said that it had been disappointed by the impact of fit notes, and employers agreed. Two-thirds of respondents to the survey said fit notes had not yet helped their rehabilitation policy, and 7 in ten felt that GPs may not be using the fit note differently from the old style sickness note.
The results also showed a difference in absence levels in the public and private sectors. Public sector employees took the on average 8.1 days sick leave a year compared with only 5.9 days in the private sector.