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Wellbeing & Benefits

Traditionally the third Monday of January has been known as Blue Monday but the latest absence figures suggest that’s no longer the case, with UK workers consistently having the Monday blues.

National Sickie Day (the first Monday in Feb) still has the highest overall percentage of absences and, based on that, ELAS predicts that 349,360 people will call in sick this year costing the UK economy £4,450,846.40. This year National Sickie Day falls on Monday 6th February.

In the first half of 2016 employment law and absence management specialists ELAS identified a trend showing the absence rate for Mondays was almost DOUBLE that of Fridays.

When the end of the year absence figures were counted, surveying 14,953 employees from 87 companies across the UK, ELAS found that this trend had continued, with Mondays having a total of 3988 absences (26.6%) compared to 2274 (15.2%) on Fridays. All of the top 10 highest absentee rates fell on a Monday.

Emma O’Leary, employment law consultant for the ELAS Group says: “Mondays tend to be the most popular for absenteeism whether that’s due to a heavy weekend or case of the Monday blues but certainly it’s possible to identify a pattern.  Look for employees who seem to have more Mondays off than any other day of the week and speak to them.

It’s acceptable to challenge employees on their levels of attendance especially if you identify a pattern forming that may lead you to believe these absences are not caused by genuine sickness.

She continues: “Employers should ensure they have robust return to work procedures in place, part of which should be to discuss in detail the reason why an employee was absent. Should a health issue be suggested, the employer could follow up by seeking to obtain a medical report; this will reveal whether or not the employee is properly addressing any underlying medical condition. Notes from all return to work meetings should be retained in case they need to be referred back to at future meetings with the same employee.”

Facts and figures:

UK workforce (as of Dec 2016) = 31.76 million

Average UK wage = £26,500

Average UK hourly wage = £12.74

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