Long-term sickness at a record high – how can you retain your workers?

11 Oct 2023

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has released a new study showing that levels of sickness absence are the highest they’ve been in over a decade.

This report comes just weeks after figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the number of unemployed people who are classified as ‘long-term sick’ is the highest it has been since records began, reaching almost 500,000.

According to the study from CIPD, the top causes of long-term absence are mental ill health primarily stress, acute medical conditions such as stroke or cancer, and musculoskeletal issues. Additionally, the ONS report suggests that most recent rises in economic inactivity were driven by those aged 50 to 64.

Older workers are often a company’s most skilled and experienced employees and retaining them is crucial. With sickness figures on the rise, many businesses have been left wondering how they can retain their workers.

Early intervention to prevent stress and escalating health issues can support older employees to stay in work for longer. To support with this, the Department for Work and Pensions recently launched their Midlife MOT service, delivered in East Anglia by public service specialists Reed in Partnership.

Midlife MOT is a free review for workers aged 45 to 55 that helps them take stock of their finances, skills and health. The MOT helps employees understand why and how they should stay in work for longer including the financial benefits, help with work-life balance such as caring commitments, support during life-changing moments, and ongoing continuous professional development. Midlife MOT is delivered by Reed in Partnership.

One employee who had their Midlife MOT commented: “I got more than I expected. The information sent to me is exactly what I need to change my life for the better.”

Director of Reed in Partnership’s Employability Division, Nick Morgan, said: “Midlife MOT is a valuable service for employers wishing to retain their 45-55-year-old staff. We’re a fully funded service, so come at no cost to employers. In fact, we can help employers to save on recruitment and training costs by helping them to keep their older workers’ skills and experience within their company.”