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‘Sick days’ cost Irish business €1.5 billion per year

On average, a staff member will cost their employer €818 per year because of their unplanned days off work. But the recession has made us turn up more regularly.

Image: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ABSENTEEISM COSTS IRISH businesses about €1.5 billion a year, according to new findings published today.

Business group IBEC claims that 11 million days are lost each year because employees take unplanned time off.

However, it seems Irish people are getting better at turning up to work as the report shows a reduced rate of absenteeism since the economic downturn.

On average, employees miss almost six days of work per year, the study found. This absentee rate of 2.58 per cent is down substantially from the 3.38 per cent recorded in the last comprehensive survey in 2004.

Staff members working in firms that employ fewer than 50 people are less likely to miss work.

Minor illness is the main reason cited by both men and women for staying at home.

About 4 per cent of companies said alcohol and alcohol-related illness was the top cause of short term absence for male employees. This figure drops to just 1 per cent when talking about women.

The highest level of absence was recorded in call centres, while software companies had the best attendance record.

IBEC director of policy Brendan Butler said that absenteeism is a “serious social and economic issue”. More than a quarter of the companies questioned felt they could improve absentee rates.

The report, entitled ‘Employee Absenteeism – A Guide to Managing Absence’, was based on 2009 data provided by 635 companies operating in Ireland.

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