Reduce sickness days with Wellbeing days – advice from SAIF HR Resource Centre

18/01/2018   //   No Comments

This information is sourced from: Tips & Advice Personnel

Research suggests that over 39 million working days were lost to sickness absence in the last year. To prevent them, some experts are suggesting employers introduce “wellbeing days”. Is this a good idea?

Findings. According to a survey conducted by Citation, 39 million working days were lost to sickness in the last year with 12% of employees taking at least one day and 17% taking between two and three. The top reason given was stress (41%) but exhaustion, depression, tiredness and anxiety also featured on the list, as did family problems, personal issues and feeling under the weather.

Best practice. Employers are often told that they can reduce sickness absence by conducting robust return to work interviews and we support that advice. However, some experts suggest that there could be another way. This is by introducing “wellbeing days”, sometimes known as “duvet days”. So what are they exactly and should you do this in your workplace? The concept is quite simple: you grant all employees the right to take a couple of days off each year at short notice, the idea being that they will do this instead of taking time off “sick”.

Last minute. You can grant wellbeing days in addition to statutory annual leave rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998 or include them within that entitlement. However, as this could cause disruption and uncertainty for your business, it’s important to set out clear rules in a robust policy. For example, there may be certain times of the year, or days of the week, when you won’t permit wellbeing or duvet days to be taken.

Tip. With clear rules, this type of policy can work extremely well but it doesn’t mean you should ditch return to work interviews; they should still be carried out after every episode of sickness absence. The start of a new year is a good time to introduce this type of policy. If you grant an extra day or two, they could be given instead of a pay rise.

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