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Exclusive: Too many absence management policies kick in when it is too late

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Despite the Government currently legislating that firms need to invest in preventive health and absence management policies, it seems most businesses still only deal with absence after it happens.

In a survey for HR by Harris Interactive, nearly two thirds of employees (59%) said absence policies only kick into action after the event. This is despite nearly 70% of them saying their company does have absence management systems. Just 20% of the 1,403 sample said their bosses had implemented wellness policies that concentrate on preventive action. Few were against the idea of preventive absence management - just 16% said they would not like their employer to provide it. Among the options employees said they would like to see offered were free/discounted gym membership (from 35% of respondents), and advice on healthy eating (11%), above.

Fieldwork dates: 10 - 17 June 2009.

Interview method: online via the Harris Interactive Online panel. Sample size of 1,403 included GB adults 16+ who are working full time or part time.

Which preventive steps would you prefer your employer to offer?
- would prefer employer to offer no preventive steps: 16%
- cycle-to-work scheme: 7%
- advice on muscular-skeletal issues: 8%
- training on healthy living/eating: 11%
- free/discounted gym membership: 35%
not sure 23%.

Harris Interactive is a member of the British Polling Council. For more information, email Nikki Bateman at nbateman@harrisinteractive.com