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


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