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Aon benchmarking index aims to help employers assess the impact of sickness on productivity

Aon Consulting has launched a free index for organisations that provides employers with tangible information relating to the impact of employee illness on their organisation.

The Aon Consulting European Sick Leave Index (ESLI) is thought to be the largest and first of its kind produced in Europe.

The index, based on data gathered from almost 200 employers with 370,000 employees across all key sectors, currently focuses on Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands. However, employers from any country can benchmark against the index by visiting www.aon.com

While the traditional approach to measuring sickness and absence has been to record the number of sick days taken by employees, the ESLI builds upon this and introduces a new ratio - the impact on productivity of sickness. It quantifies, for example, the impact of one employee being ill for 200 consecutive days compared with 20 being absent for 10 days scattered throughout the year.

According to Aon, the 370,000 employees currently tracked took approximately 4.2 million sick days over the last year. The total direct cost of these sick days to the 200 employers was £665 million. And, on average, each sick day in this sample costs employers almost £160.

Peter Abelskamp, director of health and benefits EMEA at Aon Consulting, said: "The ESLI adds depth to companies' understanding of the impact of sick leave, how it affects their ability to serve their customers and add value for their shareholders. Most importantly, it helps identify what they can do to optimise performance in this area and promote employee wellness within their organisation."