The number of days taken off work due to sickness is at an all-time low, says Manufacturers Organisation EEF.

The survey of 330 firms over the past two years showed overall levels of absence amongst employees has reached a record low of 2.1%, which is equal to 4.9 days per worker per year.

Although short-term absences have fallen, long-term absences have risen and the EEF calls for the Health & Work service to do more to tackle long term illness. Furthermore, the government’s “fit note” programme was found to be failing in its mission to get people back to work.

Employers also reported a higher level of workers with mental health issues.

The statement said thisĀ “possibly reflects, for the first time, evidence of the effect on employees of the long period of recession and austerity”.

Professor Sayeed Khan, chief medical adviser at the EEF, said:

“Driving down absence rates, helping more employees return to work earlier and, encouraging their well-being is critical for our economy.

“But, 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 EEF says manufacturers are increasingly investing in absence management and paying for treatment to help get employers back into the workplace.

Photo by William Brawley