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Acas opens debate on managing attendance in the public sector

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Acas today published its latest policy discussion paper on health, work and well-being which discusses public sector attendance management. In 2006 there was an average of nine days lost per person in the public sector.

The new Acas paper, pdf icon Health work and wellbeing: rising to the public sector attendance management challenge [499kb], discusses the differences between public and private sector absence and explores the story behind the figures. It also looks at the reasons behind sickness absence in the public sector, how improvements can be made and examples of good practice.

The paper highlights the importance of healthy workplace relationships and the factors required to achieve them. These include the need for good leadership and management, effective communication and consultation, and having policies in place for dealing with people matters.

The Acas paper concludes by making a number of recommendations including the need for:

  • further 'joined up' government support for greater promotion of the benefits of healthy workplaces
  • more innovative channels to spread good practice in the management of attendance and stress
  • closer linkage between the government's skills policies and managers' competence in this area.

Acas Chair, Rita Donaghy said: 'The healthier your workplace relationships, the healthier your business or organisation. If you have high levels of absence then it's often one of the first signs that there is something wrong. Our experience tells us making sure line managers are properly trained to manage attendance and stress is essential for building an attendance culture and developing a healthy workplace.'

Notes to editors

1. The policy discussion paper Health, work and well being: rising to the public sector attendance management challenge was written by Sarah Silcox (a writer and researcher on employment issues, specialising in health, work and well being) in collaboration with the Acas Health, Work and Well being Steering Group. It does not necessarily reflect the view of Acas.

2. The statistic in this release is from 2007 CBI and-AXA Absence and labour turnover survey.

  1. Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members.

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