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Absenteeism Costs small Business €563 million per annum…

A new report just published by the Small Firms Association has shown that absenteeism in Ireland costs small firms some €563 million per annum. The study conducted by the Small Firms Association was conducted throughout Ireland and covered all sectors of Irish Business.
This is a significant figure for any small firm especially in today’s tough economy. The one positive finding for small firms however is the fact that small firms have a lower average rate of absenteeism than larger firms.
The Acting Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), Avine McNally spoke out about this weeks published report and stated “The national average for absenteeism is 3.6% or 8 working days. For large firms this rises to 4.6% or 10 working days. For small firms the average falls to 2.6% or 5 working days”.
The most interesting point which Ms. McNally raised was the fact that the estimated figure of €563 million per annum “takes no account of other direct costs such as the requirement to replace absent staff with other workers or overtime payments, and the cost of medical referrals, or of the indirect costs such as the effect on productivity and quality, the increased work pressure on other colleagues, and the admin time in managing absence”.
The overall cost in reality could in fact be in closer to €900m.
These figures are both shocking and worrying for small firms who are already struggling to compete with larger firms in such harsh economic times.
The report continues to discuss the possible causes of such high levels of absenteeism in Ireland. Stress and back pain/injury are one of the most popular cited problems on medical certs.
Employers need to be aware that they have a duty of care to all of their employees and they also must realise that workplace stress is a major problem which is emerging during these recessionary times. Stress is a normal part of life; however excessive stress interferes with every employee’s productivity and reduces their physical and emotional health, so it’s important that employers find ways to keep it under control.
Fortunately, there is a lot that employers can do to manage and reduce stress at work and benefit every employee.
All employers should have a workplace stress policy that all employees are educated on. This policy should include information for employees such as the signs and symptoms of stress, common causes of workplace stress, how employees can reduce stress by looking after themselves, time management skills, organisation skills and most importantly suggestions on ways to dispel stress. Employers should also be positive role models for their staff and create a work place environment which encourages open and effective communication, employee involvement, incentives and rewards which recognise work well done and most importantly a friendly social climate in the workplace should be encouraged at all times.
At Employment Matters we believe that if employers educate their employees on workplace stress and create an environment where employees feel they can speak openly if they are feeling stressed, this alone will help to improve the stress rates of employees and hopefully in turn reduce the rate of absenteeism in a firm.
To find out more check us out on www.employment-matters.ie or if you want to find out more about dealing with stress in the workplace then contact us today on 051-850660 now!