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Clear policies and proactive management the key to reducing staff sick days in December

Absence rates typically start to climb in December as seasonal illnesses and festive indulgence start to take their toll. Having a clear policy on staff absence and proactive absence management can help to head off staffing problems in the run-up to Christmas.

A recent survey conducted by Bupa showed that 42 per cent of HR professionals felt that the real cause of increased rates of absence in their workplace in December was 'overindulgence'. Only around a third of those questioned believed that absence rates were chiefly affected by increased incidences of colds and other winter maladies.

There's a growing realisation that employers need to be proactive as opposed to reactive in managing absence. Seventy-eight per cent of the companies surveyed said that they had introduced policies to try to reduce December absence rates. Flu jabs were offered by 35 per cent of companies, while others promoted healthy living and exercise, or actively challenged reasons for absence if it was suspected that an absent employee was actually suffering from the after-effects of the Christmas party.

Acas absence policy training helps reduce absence in the workplace and improve overall workplace productivity. Experts are also on hand to work with organisations to assess specific needs and design tailored training programmes.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions page for more information.

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